Posts Tagged ‘knight’

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

Solutions, friends…solutions!

Well, most quotes from my last post were more than easy. But I heard from several sources that the remaining quotes were extremely hard to guess without using Google-Fu or someother research martial art. Well, folks, let’s solve this puzzle once and for all!

“The video arcade is down the street. Here we just sell small rectangular objects. They’re called books. They require a little effort on your part, and make no bee-bee-bee-bee-beeps. On your way please.”

People who know me can tell that if there is one movie from my childhood that left a damn big impression, it must be Neverending Story. Seen from a professional point of view, the movie wasn’t THAT good. Compared to the book it is based on, it even kinda sucked. But boy, did I LOVE the sight of Falcor the Luck Dragon. And guess what? My mood still gets all sunny when I see that smiling dog-like face! But who actually said that quote? Well, it was this grumpy old librarian…

Mr. Koreander, the stereotypical old man who just KNOWS that kids know longer read books, but are only entertained by the sight of virtual bloodshed and high scores. Little did he know that one day, a socially awkward boy named Bastian would stumble into his bookstore, and that a book from his collection would send that child on the adventure of a lifetime…

“Hold your ground, hold your ground! Sons of Gondor, of Rohan, my brothers! I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me. A day may come when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship, but it is not this day. An hour of woes and shattered shields, when the age of men comes crashing down! But it is not this day! This day we fight! By all that you hold dear on this good Earth, I bid you stand, Men of the West!”

I’m keeping this one short, because it is terrible easy: Aragorn from Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. That wasn’t TOO hard?

“Oh, you. You just couldn’t let me go, could you? This is what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object. You are truly incorruptible, aren’t you? Huh? You won’t kill me out of some misplaced sense of self-righteousness. And I won’t kill you because you’re just too much fun. I think you and I are destined to do this forever.”

There are some movies that are so awesome, that not seeing them is just a sin. A cardinal sin. One of these movies is Forrest Gump, another one is The Dark Knight. I think it’s more than clear from what movie this quote is, right?

“Me? I’ve had so many names. Old names that only the wind and the trees can pronounce. I am the mountain, the forest and the earth. I am… I am a faun. Your most humble servant, Your Highness.”

Guillermo del Toro is one of the biggest visionaries when it comes to movies. One of his most memorable movies is Pan’s Labyrinth. The movie revolves around a little girl in Spain during World War 2, who flees from the horror that reality is, and finds refuge in her own imagination. The movie has a somehow sad ending, but is filled with memorable scenes and creatures. The most memorable of them is the scary, yet somehow charming Faun, who has a firm place in my movie memory. I mean, look at him, you just have to love him!

“I suddenly remembered my Charlemagne. Let my armies be the rocks and the trees and the birds in the sky…”

Indiana Jones. But which one, and from who’s lips? Well, this one is from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, my favorite of all the Indy-movies. Not just because of the epic storyline around the Holy Grail, but also because of Sean Connery, and his role as Professor Henry Jones. No, not as DOCTOR Henry Jones, that’s his son. Connery knows how to play the charming, yet somehow strange and bizarre old man with his ivory-tower approach. Still, you score about 500 points in my book when you quote Carolus Magnus, or Charlemagne for those who slack in Latin.

“Sam, wait! No matter what happens, I’m really glad I got in that car with you.”

Transformers, duh! But, ladies: guys didn’t watch this movie just for the shape-shifting cars. No, there was a certain other reason…

“None of you understand. I’m not locked up in here with you. You’re locked up in here with me.”

Yes, we know that, Rorschach. You made your point quite clear by incapacitating several of your inmates. But still, Watchmen is a terrible awesome movie, even though a gigantic blue penis is waiting around the corner of every scene. Ahh well, it could be worse, huh?

Signed,

Aki


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!