Posts Tagged ‘death’

The Troll’s Opinion – Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Okay, first of all: Spoiler Alert! This review is full of descriptions of important parts of the movie, so if you haven’t seen it yet, and don’t want to mess up your own experience, do yourself a favor and do not read this. You have been warned.

I admit that I am a person who really believes the hype, unlike what a certain rap song tries to tell me. But when I saw the first teaser for Transformers 2, or Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, I was sold. And after my big brother teased me even more by going to the premiere of the movie in the US, I just had to see it too. So, I grabbed my buddy Daniel, and we went to the movies.

So, in case you can’t be bothered with reading this whole review, let me sum it up for you in the words of the Nostalgia Critic: adequately satisfying. Starting off very good, the film had its moments of random, forced humor and stupid scenes that just didn’t contribute to the movie. So, how did it go, Aki?

Well, as I said, the movie starts off extremely well, showing us how the Autobots that remained on Earth work together with a special military unit called NEST to seek and destroy remaining Decepticons. During an operation in Shanghai, the Autobots and their organic buddies blow up half of the city, and the American government is anything but pleased. Arguing that the Autobots will just draw more Decepticons to Earth, a representative of the President demands them to leave, so that Earth will not become the battlefield for an alien vendetta. Optimus Prime, still being voiced by the awesome Peter Cullen, understands the fear of the humans, but knows that the recent growth of Decepticon activity has a completely different reason, namely the return of the so-called “Fallen”… (insert dramatic music here).

Meanwhile, our protagonist Samuel Witwicky (Shia LeBouef) prepares for leaving to his college in Europe (by the looks of it, I guess he’s studying in Britain). While calling his girlfriend Mikaela (Megan “Hot Piece of Booty” Fox), he discovers a sliver of the Allspark in one of his old, torn-up sweaters. As Sam touches the shard, he is infused with the knowledge of weird, alien symbols, and turns into a complete mindfuck in the coming days. The height of his possession comes during his first astronomy class, and afterwards he paints the walls of his dorm full with the cryptic signs. This seems to draw the attention of a hot co-ed, who turns out to be A FREAKING DECEPTICON! Since when do Transformers take the form of a human?

Oh well, it all turns awesome when the Decepticons start to hunt Sam because of his knowledge, which seems to be the travelling guide to some kind of Sun-sucking machine, which turns the energy of stars into pure Energon, the lifeforce of every Cybertronian. However, the Autobots know what it means when the Decepticons, now clearly lead by the enigmatic Fallen, would blast out the sun: not only would the entire human race be doomed, but the Decepticons would have enough Energon to raise a whole army, even without the Allspark. A thrilling race against time starts, full of explosions, epic battles, a bit of romance and the death of Optimus Prime.

Who-whoa-whoa-what?! Optimus freaking Prime dies? No worries, crying fanboys, he is resurrected, but I was kinda shocked when he was stabbed to death by Megatron (who’s voiced again by Elro…ehh, Mr. Smi…ehh, Hugo Weaving). Even though this is a good twist, I can’t help it but feeling like this movie could have been so much more…

Of course, it had some really awesome stuff. For example, Jetfire is one of the coolest Transformers I have ever seen: old, senile and relying on a walking stick / battleaxe to walk around. Everytime he talked, I had to think of all those Vietnam veterans telling their cruel war stories. Jetfire is even so old, that his transformation looks clunky and anything but smooth! Also, the special effects and combat scenes are off the chain. Just like in the first movie, the fights between gigantic robots, with little human soldiers crawling beneath them look unbelievable epic and awesome. And last but not least, there’s not just one very pretty lady in this flick, but two (even though the second turns out to be some brain-eating killer machine)!

Still, this movie is flawed in several ways, suffering clearly of Sequelilitis. Some of the dialogue just feels crappy and rather weird, and the kid-friendly characters like the twins Mudflap and Skids started to annoy me the second they were introduced. Furthermore, the ending is anything but satisfying, turning Optimus Prime into Ultra Optimus Prime and having him one-shot the Big Bad Evil Guy a.k.a. The Fallen. The directors could have really extened that fight, just to give the viewers a satisfying ending. Believe me, I left the cinema with very mixed feelings.

However, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is not a bad movie, it’s just not as good as its predecessor. The whole movie just doesn’t feel as epic, dramatic and cool, and just lacks the genuine “kick” of the first one. Still, this movie offers enough to be worth its money: it is a firework of special effects, large-scale combat and even a bit of romance and family drama. It’s not a movie for everyone, but most surely one for us guys who just love to pop open a beer, lean back and enjoy the show. Autobots, transform and roll out!

Signed,

Aki

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Is God nothing but a particle?

So, last night I went out with Daniel and Britt to see Angels & Demons, the wide-screen version of the famous novel by Dan Brown. Even though many of my friends warned me, and told me to rather see something else a bit more nerdy, I was more than pleased. The pace of the movie is fast, and doesn’t leave you bored in your seat while also learning something about Catholic history (including some semi-true stuff).

The movie got me thinking however, because of that one part where science and religion are compared to being just two different languages describing the same thing, and how they can co-exist. I’m wondering…is that truly possible? Can two completely different things co-exist, or even merge into one single being, a kind of belief in Divine Progress, or Holy Technology? Well, I think that such a thing is possible.

Let us look at the roots of modern science, and especially chemistry and physics: Ancient Greece. Way back, Greek philosophers tried to find explanations for why things work like they…well, work. One of the earliest concepts of chemistry, which would also be the foundation of the later created Alchemy, was born: the transmutation of different elements. Empedocles stated that all of creation was based on the four elements Fire, Water, Earth and Air. Later philosophers added an element that held these four together, named Aether. These elements could transform into each other, and be reborn as another one. This is not too different from modern-day chemistry, even though our modern periodic table of chemical elements contains 117, instead of just 4 (or 5) elements.

However, this view was not purely scientific. Philosophers used it as the foundation of their own belief, of their view on how the Gods worked their wonders on Earth. In addition, they saw their “science” as a way of mimicking these powers, and doing something of god-like proportions. In their ancient society, science and religion were not like two different polarities. No, they were more like two sides of the same coin.

However, in time, some philosophers became scientists, and others priests. The first group tried to understand the world in a more…empirical way. A way based on the perception of the world around us. The second group, however, put their faith into something that cannot be explained by scientific means or whatsoever. They started to believe that some things cannot be explained by pure observation and codification: some things were meant to be uncomprehendible by the human mind. And so, these once united spirits drifted apart.

And we all know how that ended: ideologies collided, people got mad about what other people said, some people got burned, others got exiled, and from time to time the occassional church got burned and university got blamed for creating anti-Christian academics. But imagine what we could have achieved if science and religion, no wait, science and FAITH would have combined their forces, and united the world on a whole new level?

Science is the tool that expresses mankind’s need to evolve, to strife for the next big thing. It is in science where a human can break the boundaries of his body and mind. Look at what our modern science can do: fight diseases on a molecular level, create power sources that are near infinite and bring humans into space. These things are wonderful and good, but people still need guidance. Is our path the right one? Will we find ascension at the end of the rocky road? In comes faith…

Faith is another tool, a tool used by humans to give them support in things they cannot completely comprehend. Science can create wonders, but some things are just not yet achievable. Faith can give the inner strength to those who need, to those who need a higher concept to guide them. See it as an outline, a rough blueprint you build your dreams and ideas on. A blueprint which can be the final spark of imagination needed to create the next scientific wonder…

So I ask you, die-hard scientists who deny the existence of all divinity, to look into yourself and witness how often you have asked yourself “Why?” and couldn’t find an answer in your quantum physics. You might find one in faith.

And I ask you, stubborn fanatic zealot, to drop your shield of belief and your monopoly on the truth. Look at what answers mankind has to all the questions your holy book or local preacher has. Just try to embrace them, and weave them into your “divine construct”.

Don’t worry lads. In the end, God will neither be an old man chilling on some cloud, nor will it be a single particle that is at the core of every atom. No, fellow readers, because in the end…science, faith and divinity is what you make out of it.

I wish you all a good night.

Signed,

Aki

[Athanatos] Desk jobs

He collapsed in her arms, just when he wanted to tell her how much he loved her. He wanted to tell her how he had already planned their entire future, how he wanted to marry her and take her far, far away. Far away from her drug-abusing father, her psychopath mom and her serial-killer brother. He had already arranged an apartment on the other side of the States, and their Mustang was packed and ready to leave. But if there is one thing I learned in about two-hundred years of service to the Grim Reaper, it’s that Fate is a bitch.

Four bullets pierced his back, and left through his chest. The love of his life was covered in the fluid that kept him alive. His once so sparkling green eyes turned pale, and his blushing red cheeks became white as snow. As he fell on his knees, holding on to the golden ring he wanted to hand her, his darling screamed out in despair and rage. I took a step back, and looked around. Then, I saw the gun blazing, held by that serial-killer brother. He had an insane smirk on his face, and his eyes were made out of the same fabric that gives birth to pure madness. But then, he saw the sadness and grief in the eyes of his own sister, and the insanity left his visage, just to make place for another kind of twisted emotion. Then, he moved the gun to his open mouth, and pulled the trigger. I almost forgot that I had to pick up two souls here. Thanks for reminding me, kid.

The air was now filled with the scent of blood, death and tragedy. Two dead bodies and a weeping girl set this most dramatic scene. In the distance, I could hear the sounds of police cars. I stepped closer to the shot boyfriend, and looked at the golden ring that lied on the cold cobblestones now. I kneeled down next to him, and sighed. Even after two-hundred years of picking up souls and bringing them to the Clockwork, I could not stop wondering about the wicked ways of Fate. This girl was now robbed of any chance of ever getting out of this miserable existence. If Fate had any mercy, it would have rather killed this poor lady instead of these two boys. But it was not my duty to judge about this. All I had to do is getting these poor suckers away from here. I took a deep breath, and did what had to be done.

Once again, I was very grateful for being an incorporeal being. Reaching into someone’s chest would otherwise turn into a very bloody mess, considering that tonight enough blood had already been shed. But I did not want to pull out some part of the human organism, I was reaching for something that only a few could see and feel: the soul. And there I had it, shaped like a small, white glowing diamond. It resonated in my palm, like it was begging me to be returned inside the warm shell of a mortal body. But its former husk was no longer warm. The last drops of blood dripped from the places where the bullets had left, and his skin was ice-cold. No going back for you, little soul. I grasped the crystal firmly in my hand, and walked over to the other corpse. In the mean time, the girl had taken hold of her dead lover, and held his stiff body in her arms, crying. I was doing my best to be touched by the view of it, but a lack of emotion made it quite hard to be compassionate.

I kneeled down next to the corpse of the brother, and stared at the hole in the back of his head. A clean shot, as far as giving yourself a “clean shot” is possible. I reached for the soul, and pulled it out of the chest. This shard was also vibrating and pulsing, afraid of its fate. I held the immortal diamond in my other hand, and turned around for a last time to look at the girl. The police and emergency doctors had arrived, and tried to take the corpse from the woman’s embrace. She screamed in agony and despair, and even I felt a sting in the place where I once had my heart. However, my work here was done. I got up, and left the cruel scene.

It is just another day in the life of an Athanatoi, an Immortal. Some might say that this job sucks pretty bad: seeing people die on a daily bases, picking up their souls and making sure they end up at the right place. But after two centuries of doing this job, I can’t imagine doing anything else, especially some kind of desk job in some cubicle. Imagine the horror that is paperwork and some boss breathing in your neck to make some kind of deadline…

Two decades

Yeah, in less than a month I’ll turn 20! Two decades of existance in this form behind my…big back, and what have I achieved in all this time? Ehm…well, not much. But that is not the point.

The point is: birthdays equal gifts. Now I know I won’t get much this year due to financing my driver’s license, but a man should have wishes, right? Also, I like to share my thoughts with the world, so here for all of you to see: my birthday wishlist! In this post, I start off with movies in the form of DVD’s I would love to see on February 19.

Category 1: Movies

In an age where every kid downloads his movies from file-sharing networks, I love the feeling of knowing that I have a few original DVD’s on my shelf. That’s why I like to take advantage of discount actions at multimedia shops, but even then the little discs demand cash (or the person behind the counter). Thus, I’m glad when people give me DVD’s for my birthday. Behold my top 3:

300 (2-Disc Special Edition)

Spartans!!!

Spartans!!!

We are all familiar with the term “chick-flick”: a movie obviously directed at the female market, containing love, friendship and a happy ending. Also, such movies are known for having some really pretty males in the main roles.

If we examine “300” closely, it contains many elements of a chick-flick: there is the love between Leonidas at his wife, the friendship to the grave between the sons of Sparta, and even a sort of happy ending. It would be the ideal movie to watch with your girlfriend…if it wasn’t for the bloody battles between the red-caped Spartans and the barbaric invaders of the Persian Empire! Gosh, God bless this movie for being a real “guy-flick”: spears impaling screaming soldiers, swords that cut off heads with a single stroke, and a king that knew how to protect his Polis. “300” is a movie that is so full of raw and primitive action, you actually feel how you turn into a blood-craving child of Sparta yourself while watching this movie.

My girlfriend might not enjoy watching this movie, but I would love to see this, especially as the 2-Disc Special Edition, as a present. And then I’ll just force her to watch it with me, she can still drool at the muscled bodies of the 300 Spartans, while I enjoy the bloody and messy combat. FOR SPARTA!

The Dark Knight (again, 2-Disc Special Edition)

“Good evening…commisioner”. Those words from the early trailer of “The Dark Knight” made my skin crawl, and my heart bump. Rumors had it that the bad guy in the new Batman movie would be the Joker, played by Heath Ledger (known for his interesting role in the gay cowboy movie “Brokeback Mountain”). Heath Ledger as…the Joker? Somehow, I couldn’t believe it. Until I saw this in the trailer…

Why so serious?

"Why so serious?"

The trailer ended, and my heart was racing from enthusiasm. I COULD NOT FREAKING WAIT!

And then it hit the cinemas, and I went out to town to watch this movie. And did the producers, script-writers and actors let me down? Oh no, they certainly didn’t! Every part of the crew contributed to this masterpiece in the history of movies. However, the guy who stole the show was certainly Heath Ledger as the psycho / sociopath criminal “Joker”. I think that no one ever potrayed such a disturbed, sick person better and more creepy than this little actor from New York. Rest in peace, master of acting…or was it even acting? Evil tongues say that Heath WAS mentally ill during the making of this movie. Well, he certainly knows how to potray madness, like he had first-hand experience…

Nevertheless, this DVD (preferably Special Edition) would look fine on my shelf. I just want to hear that quote again….WHY SO SERIOUS?!


Shiny!

Shiny!

Harry Potter: Years 1-5

Oh yes I admit it: I like Harry Potter! The books are fine (up to “Half-Blood Prince”), and the movies are damn fine, if not just for the sake of Emma Watson, who is turning into quite a beautiful and talented actress. Still, I don’t own a single copy of these movies, but I found out that some shops have a collection of the first five “years”: The Philosopher’s Stone, The Chamber of Secrets, The Prisoner of Azkaban, The Goblet of Fire and The Order of the Phoenix. Also, I love DVD collections: fat boxes somehow look cool to me.

Still, the package is not too cheap, so I’m not really expecting this. But one day, I have my Potter DVD’s and run around the house, swinging a wooden twig and yelling: “EXPECTO PATRONUM!” Hopefully, footage of such an event will not end up on YouTube…

Signed,

Aki

Is it…possible?

Nooo, no big update…yet! I’ll do my best to pop something up tomorrow! In the mean time, enjoy the new President of the United States of America while “doin’ his thang”

Signed,
Aki

When you’re evil

Secretly, everyone has a weakness for the darker side of life. I mean, most of us never get the chance to be the beast we are, deep inside. Of course, that is a good thing. Imagine a society where everyone could just let out that animal inside…I wouldn’t be interested living in it, folks.

However, when it comes to slipping into the husk of a digital alter ego, many take the chance and embrace their dark passions as long as they do it through some sort of virtual avatar. This phenomenon is also something seen in tabletop role-playing, and to an extent, it adds to the experience. Unfortunately, I’ve seen too many of these “evil-doers” and have to vent my frustration about them right here.

You see, when Wrath of the Lich King went live, I was prepared for the dark and gloomy wave of Death Knights, the first “Hero Class” in the World of Warcraft. The lore behind the Death Knights of Azeroth is quite cool and interesting, and I loved the story of Arthas in Warcraft 3. Even from a gameplay point-of-view, the class is new and fun to play. Also I can understand when people what something new after playing one or two classes for a few years.

However, I forgot a very important factor: I play on a role-playing server. And trust me, most role-players in WoW are teenage drama queens who just need a place to have their hormones run wild and do all the naughty and bad things they just can’t do in real life, without their parents slapping them into a coma. Now, the formula is simple. Scientists, behold! I dub this the “First principle of Schmidt” (gotta love my last name!)

G = 100 – (A x 2) + D

In this formula, G is the “Gloomy index”. The higher the number, the higher the odds the person you are currently role-playing with is going to go all-out emo on you. For example, if someone has a G of 78, you have 78% chance of hearing stuff about his family that was slaughtered by owlbears, his long-lost love which was raped and kidnapped by the Cookie Monster, or how hard he sucks in curling.

A is age, and should be multiplied by two. In general, younger people have a higher Gloomy index, especially nowadays where most teenies are confronted with sad poems and songs about depressions on a daily basis.

D is the variable for other dark influences, factors that should be taken in account. Some of these factors are based in real life and seriously affect the person self, others are based in the fantasy world the person is role-playing in. The following table will show the dark influence of certain factors, and should be used as an orientation point when calculating the Gloomy index.

Factor Dark influence rating
Dumped by girlfriend lately 10
Dumped by several girlfriends lately 15
Never had a girlfriend 20
Active MySpace profile 10
Playing a gloomy race (most Elvish races) 10
Playing a gloomy class (Warlock, sorcerer, necromancer, Death Knight, Deathguard etc.) 5

So, let’s do the math for a 14-year old rolling up a Death Knight, intended for role-play in Silvermoon City. The boy never had a girl before, but is of course a slave to his uncontrolled lust for boobies and ass, and has around 400 “friends” on MySpace. Also, his Death Knight will be a Blood Elf, as our 14-year old finds comfort in playing the remnant of a broken and fallen race, who now struggles to survive in a world that is so harsh to them. Oh lord…

G = 100 – ( 14 x 2 ) + (20 [no girlfriend) + 10 [MySpace] + 10 [gloomy race] + 5 [gloomy class])

This results in a Gloomy index of 117! Beware of this kid, because he will cry about his lost pride and his dark soul for hours if you let him. Afterwards, he will play with the little Orc kids right outside Orgrimmar, to atone for his grievous sins.

Of course, this formula is anything but scientific, but I want to make a point with it: most, especially young role-players try to play something which they could never be in real life. That alone is anything but bad, and is the point of role-playing. I could never be a Troll in real life, let alone a spirit-conjuring Shaman! The poo hits the fan when these role-players try to at drama to their characters, and just throw too much salt into the soup. In the end, all I want to say is that you should learn how to cook up a delightful role-playing character. And playing a fantasy version of the lead singer of Taking Back Sunday, reciting painful poems every minute, is not good role-playing.

So, a word to all you “gloomy” role-players: think about your concept before you play it. There are dozens of Drizzt’s, tons of Cloud’s and far too many Arthas-rip off’s. Talk with fellow role-players about your heartbroken soldier, and get yourself some advice from them. Give even the most evil and ruthless fellow a weak, and maybe even warm spot in his frozen and bitter heart. Soon, you will taste the fruits of your work: satisfied role-players around you, who might not like your character, but who will like you for at least TRYING something new.

That’s it for the day, folks. As a little bonus for all the dark emo-kids feeling agitated about this, just listen this. It might cheer you up!

Signed,

Aki!