Posts Tagged ‘tastic’

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

Status Report

Politics? Done.
English? Done.
Spanish? Grrrrr!

Yeah, my exams are going well. But Spanish tomorrow will probably demoralize me, causing a -5 despair penalty on my next Study Marketing check…sigh…

Signed,
Aki

Rounding up

You know what I just realized a few hours a go? I just had my last classes for this academic year…wow. This year went by extremely fast…damn, it seems like yesterday that I got to know the people I would study with for, hopefully, 4 years. All that’s left to do now is surviving two weeks of exams and re-sits, and then I’m more than ready to enjoy one-and-a-half month of relaxation. Six weeks is quite alot, so what would I like to do in that time?

First of all, I want to take the time for reading a good book. It has been quite awhile since I worked my way through a fine novel, even though I enjoy nothing more than finishing my day by reading a few chapters before falling asleep. Also, I should use the spare time to write down some of my ideas, and get a little longer story going. Maybe the summer break is the ideal time to elaborate on my Anthanatos concept?

Second, I would love to take a little trip somewhere in Europe. I have some options, with an attractive invitation to visit Sweden for a while (thanks for that, Joakim!). So, who knows, I might update my blog from there during the break? 😀

And last, but not least, summer break is the ideal time to do something nerdish, just to keep up the reputation. So, anyone who has input on that, just drop me a line. Anything’s possible: from a Stargate SG-1 marathon, to a crazy experimental RPG one-shot.

For now, I’m off to enjoy the evening. I adivce you to do the same, especially with this song I just can’t get out of my head:

Signed,

Aki

P.S.: Yes, it’s a new blog skin. Awesomesauce, righto?

Japantag 2009

One week left until having to endure an entire week of exams, so what does lil’ Aki do? Nope, he’s not studying…he had some off-the-hook fun at the Japantag 2009 in Düsseldorf, Germany!

The Japantag (english: Japan Day) is an annual festival organized by the city of Düsseldorf to celebrate the unique relationship between Germany and Japan (which is about more than just covering each others back in some World War almost 70 years a go). All along the Rhine, you’ll find stands and shows, and to go out with a bang, the day is concluded by an awesome fireworks show.

My personal reason for going to the Japantag, however, is not just my interest in Japanese society and culture, but also my fascination for the strangests hobbies around: Cosplay and Japanese fashion. Now, don’t be scared: I will probably never dress up as some Anime character myself, but I love to so people investing their spare time in creating brilliant and beautiful outfits. I had the chance to marvel at some truly masterful outfits this year, but sadly, my eyes also had to endure terrible pain and agony caused by chubby little girls who felt like dressing up in mini-skirts and far too tight tanktops. I hope that the memory will fade some day…

Anyway, I had a damn good time this year. I had the chance to see people that I hadn’t seen for ages (still, Laura, we still have to meet up again!), laugh about silly jokes, eat gross food and fall asleep at 4 AM this morning with a feeling of pure satisfaction and delight.

Unfortunately, I haven’t received much photos yet, but I can give you this one:

haru markus japantag 2009

Can’t you see, posing is my specialty!

I’ll update this blog as soon as I have some new pictures, so stay tuned!

Signed,

Aki

The Hunt for Gollum

You want to know what kind of stuff you can do with about $3000? Well, you could go on a very expensive shopping spree, or get yourself a very, very nice second-hand car. But I know something even better: making one heck of an awesome Lord of the Rings fan movie.

Certainly the most entertaining 40 minutes of my Sunday afternoon.

Signed,

Aki

A gathering of geeks

I’m off to Cologne for…the Role Play Convention (short RPC), Europe’s biggest role-playing games convention. I’m totally excited, because its my first time there, but I already have a checklist of things I have to check out:

  • EA: I heard that BattleForge is a nice attempt at combining RTS with MMO-elements…sounds like a game for me! Also, Dragon Age Origins (from the unbelievable fantastic studio BioWare) looks AND sounds great.
  • Codemasters: I’m not just checking them out to see how Lord of the Rings Online is doing, but also to get a glimpse on Jumpgate: Evolution.
  • The European publisher of Magic: the Gathering will have a stand. Just for nostalgia’s sake, I’ll drop by to see how the mother of my fascination for playing cards is doing.
  • Upper Deck is also in Cologne, presenting both the World of Warcraft TCG and Collectable Miniatures Game. I don’t have a choice, I have been infected with Blizzard-o-phillia for many years now, and the siren calls of Night Elves, Orcs and promises of blood and glory will probably lure me to this stand.
  • Last but not least, several German table-top role-playing games publishers have taken their positions in the Koelnmesse: Pegasus Spiele (the publisher of the German “Call of Cthulhu” and “Shadowrun”), Nackter Stahl (“Arcane Codex”), 13Mann Verlag (brough “Traveller” to Germany again) and the Heidelberger Spieleverlag (their stand might change my mind about “Dark Heresy”. Who knows, I might come home with a copy of the core rulebook…)

Also, the RPC will be my chance to see a bunch of nice people again, and I’m sure this Saturday will be totally awesome-o-saurus. I might collapse of exhaustion at the end of it, but it will be worth it!

Sunday will be all about studying for my European Science test coming Tuesday. Let’s see how that will turn out.

That’s it for today, fellows.  You’ll make sure to come back for my full coverage of the RPC this weekend. Otherwise, I will have to kill kittens. MANY of them.

Signed,

Aki

[D&D4] The depths of Emerald Cavern

Hooray, my D&D4 campaign finally started! Today we had our first real session, considering the character creation + a little session after it not as real sessions. However, the troupe was not complete, as we lacked our friendly neighbourhood wizard, Eva a.k.a. Alyssa. Still, the party decided to start their serious excavations without her, and there it went.

Emerald Cavern is the current point of interest to our heroes, as they are hired by the Wave Alliance (the guild of seafarers and merchants in Sturmhafen) to investigate the plague of dire rats coming from that forsaken dungeon. They’ve already put a stop to the dire rat plague, but now merchants leaving the town on the main trading route towards Ainador, the capital of the country, are ambushed by unnaturally good organized Goblins. It seems that their base of operations is the Emerald Cavern, and so our heroes Sema, Zarkesh and Ngara set out once again.

After putting a hold to the dire rats and killing a few Goblins, the characters sealed off a shaft leading further down, to prevent rats and Goblins to crawl up. Now, they opened it again, and used it to get to the heart of the problem. Sema offered to tie her self to a rope, and go down first to scout out the situation. She discovered an underground river, but also a very well hewn wall and walkway at the end of the shaft. The rest decided to come down, and as the slendered over the walkway, the Eladrin Ngara noticed something moving in the river (DM’s Note: Passive Perception 19 gives characters an edge). The party ignored it, as Sema got busy unlocking a door locked with three heavy iron locks. Zarkesh couldn’t wait, and wanted to see where the underground river ended. As soon as he landed in the river, a green glowing, ghostly being appeared behind him, and shouted in a deep voice: “Who dares to disturb the grave of Lord Khigan!” Zarkesh turned around, drawing his magical greataxe, and Ngara prepared for combat as well. But the ghost of a dead Dragonborn did not want to find when he found out the party was out to hunt some Goblins. He told them that he was killed by his own half-brother, Razilim, and that his corpse was taken away by Goblins, to be used in some dark rite. Ngara recalled a letter sent by the Prius of his monastery, telling him of a fall-from-grace former Dragonborn paladin, who plundered the monastery and now ran to the Emerald Caverns. Ngara vowed to rescue Lord Khigan’s corspe, and so did Zarkesh (I mean, it’s for a fellow Dragonborn. And as we all know, Dragonborn are like people from the “hood”: they keep each others scaly back!). Sema opened the door in the mean time, and the heroes advanced to the next room, which was just a storage room with crates and barrels full of salted meat and old, smelly Goblin clothes. However, behind the door to the next room, Ngara heard Goblins talking to each other. It seemed like the greenskins hadn’t already noticed the intruders, and so the characters took their chance.

The combat was far too easy for our heroes. The three Goblins went down faster than you can say ” burst damage”, but the combination of a fighter well-trained with a two-handed axe and a rogue utilizing his shady ways to the maximum dealt with the little buggers in no time. One of the Goblins could flee, and warned his companions in the next room. Filled with a feeling of superiority after this little brawl, the heroes decided to rest for a while (DM’s Note: 5 minutes of rest to regain encounter powers is not long), and charged into the climax of the adventure…

After sprinting through a hallway filled with symbols and statues dedicated to the dark dragon goddess Tiamat, our brave adventurers arrived in something that was definitly a church to that evil deity. Lying on an altar, the characters saw what must be the corpse of Lord Khigan. However, the room was filled with brutish, bigger Goblins: Hobgoblins. Behind the altar, a Hobgoblin clad in a robe with dark runes and brandishing a magical staff whispered words of power, certainly initiating a ritual to turn the corpse on the altar into an undead minion. Our heroes rushed head first into battle, which turned to be a decision which almost cost their lives.

To sum it up: both Sema and Zarkesh were almost dead during the encounter, and could only be helped by the superior healing of Ngara. In the end, the party had burned through all their encounter and daily powers, and both Zarkesh and Ngara used their action point to cause some damage. In the end, the party was showered in some nice rewards: 200 gold coins were hidden in the altar, along with a +1 flaming dagger. You can imagine that we had one happy rogue…

Before leaving the place, Ngara found a letter from Razilim, stating that Sturmhafen is the target of a big Goblin and Kobold offensive. The characters granted Lord Khigan a suitable funeral, and then headed for the Regent’s house, to tell him of the news of an imminent attack on his city. However, the Regent was unavailable, and the characters could only deliver the letter to the Vice-Regent, who seemed to be pretty uninterested. He promised to keep an eye on it, but then sent the characters away. It seems like the local authorities do not care much about the safety of their city.

The party called it a day here, and went to rest in their temporary HQ, a terrible tavern somewhere in the slums of Sturmhafen.

So, what did the party earn in this session? 450 XP per character, about 250 gold coins, a magical dagger, and clues to what is actually going on in, and under the Emerald Cavern. My players seemed to be rather excited to find out how this all works out.

So, how do I actually feel after this? Well, my players are starting to get used to how D&D4 works, and are surprisingly enjoying it more than I expected. I mean, they’re used to more rules-free systems, but apparently they like the tactical approach. Especially Hannah is starting to love her rogue, and tries to get combat advantage at every turn.

However, I still have to find the perfect balance in combat encounters. The first encounter was definitly to easy, but the last one would have been a Total Party Kill if I didn’t turn down the Hobgoblin Warcaster’s powers a bit. But I gotta admit: I threw terrible much at them their, for a 1st-level party.

Oh, nominated for this sessions “Ãœber-Action” is the two consecutive natural 20s rolled by Daniel in combat. He was kinda happy. Also nominated is Hannah’s / Sema’s Sly Flourish crit. That Hobgoblin stays away from Halflings the next time he meets one!

Still, I’m pleased with D&D4, and curious to see what my players and their characters cook up next time. Hopefully, something I can run a decent story with.

Enough geekery for today!

Signed,

Aki

P.S.: Yes, the Halfling abused the Dragonborn again as a mount. Counting the days until the +1 Dragonborn saddle of unknown comfort…