Friday, June 30, 2006 at 4:57 p.m. | 0 comments
Superman Returns in 3DI don't know why I keep trying to deny my inner comic book geek. I've gone so far as to try to publically shun my affliction but as I gaze over the contents of this blog it's filled to the brim with inane references to inane works.

Though I consider some of it to be art.

Well, why fight it, here's a quick breakdown of this week in comic book geek:

1. Superman Returns

If you're going to see it, I highly recommend you go to an IMAX. Not only does the big screen make it an impressive theatrical experience, but the 20 minutes of footage that is in 3D makes it worth the extra $2 admission. I'm fairly certain our showing was sold out and I think the film deserves it.

There are a lot of positives in this film which I didn't think there would be. Kevin Spacey was great, I didn't mind Brandon Routh at all, and some of the plot points that I found jarring just be hearing second hand were no longer an issue for me at the end of this film. I really enjoyed this movie and highly recommend it. Makes X-Men 3 really stand out as a sub-par work comparitively.

2. Blade: The TV Series

There is nothing that can redeem this show. I wasted two hours of my life watching it when it was apparent within a minute that this was not a good show. There's nothing solid about it. Not the acting, the costumes, any of the characters or the plot. Judging by this, it will be a hit with stupid people who don't know what good television should be.

3. The Transformers

The teaser trailer is now live at the official website although I wouldn't call it a teaser nor a trailer. We see one robot in silhouette against the sun for a half second while the rest of the trailer makes it seem as though the movie is a battle that plays out on Mars.

Two thumbs way down. The only transforming here is the logo and title. You need to WOW audiences if you're going to tease them about a film a year off, not make them worry about your credibility as a filmmaker.

Other stuff

That's it. Just comics, got a couple more action figures and I'm expecting to get more soon. Vacation season is here. Paul and Victoria have already left for Iceland, Catherine and I are going to Brantford for the weekend and gearing up for our three week odyssey to China in just 8 days time.

I didn't get fired or anything, which means that I've officially met my goal of hitting July 1st (more or less) which means 16 months continual employment. If I can bend this the right way, it will start me off at a slightly higher salary once I start teaching (assuming I make it through the course).

Also, I heard from Tom Beisel yesterday. It's been more than 6 years since I talked to him. It was just a small email, but he seems to be doing well. Good for him.

29 actual days at work left.
Posted by Parallel
Wednesday, June 28, 2006 at 2:15 p.m. | 2 comments
webbingThese days, due to boredom, my ambition can sometimes get the better of me. Case in point is the illustration to the left. Made up of four screen grabs I took from the new Spider-Man 3trailer featuring the black suit (otherwise known as Venom), Topher Grace as Eddie Brock, Thomas Haden Church as Sandman, and James Franco as Hobgoblin.

I wanted to include all of the photos I snagged, but couldn't think of a way that a standard presentation would be effective with so many photos. "Make ONE image!" I thought to myself. Downloaded a webbing brush for photoshop, added drop shadows, adjusted the photos and so on.

It looks KIND OF cool, but not what I envisioned. I'm still posting it though because I wasted a lot of time trying to get it right. The rest of today will be spent making glass beads in photoshop. My first attempt is so-so given that the guy who made the tutorial was working with a much older version.

I'm quite excited to see Spider-Man 3, although I'm getting very tired of film studios putting out trailers like these when the film is nearly a year away from opening. I'll still go see it and enjoy it, but come on, aren't we jumping the gun a little?

First it was Transformers with a July 2007 release and now this. At least Superman Returns opens tonight. I'm planning to go tomorrow night with Catherine to see the IMAX version with 20 minutes of 3D effects to watch.

That can't be a bad thing.

Once I master the glass button, you'll likely see the results in my corner box. It seems safe to expect dozens of the damn things to pop up everywhere once I figure it out.

31 actual days at work left.
Posted by Parallel
BrodySometimes you grow up.

It sneaks up on you when you least expect it. If you're wise enough, you can catch moments, coyly referred to in films as "coming of age" when you're able to spot the exact time and place when life changes, for better or worse, and you ride the current to see where it takes you.

For me, this was the weekend of lost friends. Not permanently scratched out of my life, but the roles in which they played so crucial a part for so long suddenly seemed dimmer and less vibrant than they had before.

Brody stopped by Toronto as part of a charter flight he was working on. He managed to send me an email as he forgot my phone number and we met up for a quick lunch. Though he didn't seem to realize it, more than two years had passed since we last saw each other.

I remember the last time clearly. Brody brought me into the city from Guelph. He had a huge monstrosity of a car that seemed more Star Destroyer than automobile. He boasted that a whole twin mattress could be crammed into the back. He stepped into our apartment and gave his approval. Then showed me the sonogram of his daughter, Rory.

Now she's two. Brody and his girlfriend, Lisa, have just had their second baby. Another girl. Named Brie.

My friend is gone.

The man who sat across the table from me was undoubtably older. He had the lines on the face that I remembered identifying in my youth as 'older' or 'responsible'. He looked like a father. It looks good on him. He flies out of Timmins quite often and has a house on a lake where his daughters can play. He doesn't have cable, use the internet, and his Xbox is gathering dust.

Only one or two mentions of 'the old days' crept in, which I was glad for, but I couldn't help but feel a touch sad that my friend, the one I knew so well, was gone. In his place was someone older and more mature, someone I wish I knew better.

I wonder if I'll ever see him again.

I saw Jer earlier that morning. I hadn't seen him in more than a month. He and Megan are moving in together and I didn't even know about it. I'm quite proud that Jer has found a path that suites him so well and a partner that complements him. Despite that, I feel a little sad and a touch of shame that I haven't made more effort to see a friend only 20 minutes away.

But I know what life is like.

Aaron with a beaver at the Toronto ZooThe next day I saw Aaron. We made plans for the four of us (Catherine and Christa, naturally) for us all to go to the zoo. He and Christa go so well together and it's a joy to see him so happy. There are few men that I respect more than Aaron. This is another friend I don't want to fade away, so that there are years between meetings. Yet I also know that if this were to happen, the man I know would only continue to grow and become someone to be proud of and respected.

So many friends, so many moments. I had one this weekend with Brody. My friend is gone, but doing well. Others are also doing well, though I don't get to see it with my own eyes. Tom Beisel is married and has a son named Evan. I found this out through the internet. Chris is living with Julia and her daughter. I haven't seen Chris since Christmas, Julia in seven years, and I've never met her daughter, Abby.

It feels like only moments have passed since I last saw them. Instead, it's years and hundreds of other moments, experiences, breaths, hugs, and all the things I will miss for the rest of my life.

Oh, my friends. I hope you're all well. Pushee, Alison, Cleary, Manny, Ron, Ajay, Chris, Stewart, Kristina, Brad, Lindsey, Neil, Paul Haynes, Colleen and the dozens of others.

"We hung around until the final band
Called Escape Is at Hand for The Traveling Man
You yelled in my ear this music speaks to me"

- The Tragically Hip

"A long time ago, we used to be friends
But I haven't thought of you lately at all
If ever again, a greeting I send to you,
Short and sweet to the soul is all I intend"

- The Dandy Warhols

33 actual days at work left.
Posted by Parallel
Thursday, June 22, 2006 at 1:31 p.m. | 3 comments
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us


35 actual days at work left.
Posted by Parallel
Wednesday, June 21, 2006 at 11:21 a.m. | 1 comments
Boys BewareAfter giving me lots of useless websites for about a month and a half, my desktop Page-A-Day calendar finally struck internet oil. Crude oil, I admit, but anyone who is a fan of Mystery Science Theater 3000 can appreciate it.

The Prelinger Archives seem to be the hub of the MST3K shorts universe. Rick Prelinger gathered thousands of these films created between 1920 and the 1980s, the bulk of which was acquired by the Library of Congress in 2002.

The good news is that thousands are still available for viewing online.

I haven't had time to go too in-depth with the offerings on the site, but so far great examples include How to Use the Dial Phone, Ulcer at Work, and Are You Popular?

I also spotted Boys Beware, a film shot in 1961 warning boys about that dangerous disease of the mind: homosexuality.

My best guess is that Josh, Jer, and likely Paul will all spend a bit of time looking over this site. It's a great time-waster activity, one I've already spread around the office.

Totally unrelated note: I saw Cars at the theater last weekend. It's not a Pixar classic, but still probably one of the best movies I've seen this year. It's been a crap year for film. Long live television!

36 actual days at work left.
Posted by Parallel
bad jobI was watching a commercial last night with Catherine that featured a series of people finding notes in their briefcases, drawers, and other assorted places. They all had dates written on them: 14 days, 2 days, tomorrow, etc. The end of the commercial asked "when is your quit date?" and I almost joyously shouted out September as that's when I'm finished with this job.

Then I realized it was for smoking. I swear I thought it was a career-change website or insurance company.

That doesn't change the fact that I'm leaving soon, though. One of the things I've learned is that gaining experience isn't always a quick and easy process. Sometimes you have to dig in and DO it whether you want to or not. Sometimes you need to feed your family, but you do all the work so that later on you can feed your soul.

Two years ago I had to quit my internship at eye weekly, because Catherine and I were on the verge of being totally broke. I was ready to get a job at Blockbuster or the equivalent simply to keep us afloat. I knew I was 'better' than that, but there is nothing wrong or shameful about looking after your family. Luckily, Catherine got her current job which she loves which gave me the time to find something really good for myself.

I got this job instead.

A bad job isn't a permanent situation nor is it something to feel bad about. This job has given me the chance to go to school to do something I really want to do. It's put a roof over my head, given me a chance to go to China, buy clothes and other stupid things that people with a bit of money can do.

I'm not rich, far from it, but I'm better off for this place, despite it being a creation from Satan's bowels.

At least I don't have to worry about money. Not for the time being, anyway. That will come in September once I'm back in school. But we're prepared for it. I think.

Oh yeah, I've been playing with our new digital camera and the macro settings. Truffle here can fit easily into my cupped hands, but I shoved the camera right in her face (she didn't like it that much) and took this picture. Unedited, it totally fills the screen both at home and at work making it an intimidating, yet cuddly, wallpaper.

And the ass job gave me the means to make it.

HUGE Truffle


77 days left. 38 of those are actual days at work.
Posted by Parallel
Thursday, June 15, 2006 at 3:20 p.m. | 0 comments
sample travel page


So far I've been more of a passive observer during the planning of my upcoming trip to China. Most of the details I've left to Catherine and to a lesser extent David, not because I can't be bothered, but because this trip is much more meaningful to Catherine.

Not that I'm not very excited about going, but China has been something of an obsession for Catherine. She wants to hold a panda (which you can do if you grease the right palms), visit several cities and take in the sights. I'm really excited about spending a night at a watchtower on the Great Wall itself as well as visiting what has been described as the most scenic group of mountains in China.

From Beijing to Chengdu to Shanghai and back, it's going to be a good trip. So far I've left all the planning to Catherine (though I did find the hostels) because it still seems so far off to me despite only being three weeks away. Also, while I have travelled overseas before, it was some time ago and my frame of reference is a little bit foggy.

To this end, I have begun to create our own travel book filled with maps and the names of some of the places we will definitely be staying at or might be staying at. I'm sure I could print all of this stuff off in other ways, but at least this gets me more involved and it creates a fun little travel book.

This is a big job I've given myself.

I've been given the green light by work to go on my trip, and other upheavels here regarding tenuous employment seem to have calmed down, so it looks like I'm good to go on the trip and good to come back for a month afterwards. I'm both delighted and dismayed by this news.
Posted by Parallel
Monday, June 12, 2006 at 1:53 p.m. | 0 comments
Rick McGinnisHow many people out there can say they've run into someone who, at first glance, appears to be your twin? On my way to work this morning, I was reading the Metro and was given pause because I dont' normally appear in newspaper ads. I had to look a little more closely to see that it wasn't me, but the TV critic, Rick McGinnis.

Not only is it strange to see that he looks like me, but it's odd because I've been meaning to write to him to get advice on becoming a TV columnist/critic because I really like the sarcastic but informative tone that his pieces in the Metro have. Perhaps he's from some sort of alternate future reality and the reason I like him so much is because he's ME.

Probably not. The nose is different as several have pointed out, but he could be my father, brother, or myself several years down the line. Nathan was shocked, Larrie thought it was creepy, Catherine thought it was me in the thumbnail version of the photo I sent her. My mom's reaction was less subtle: "Ewwwww! THAT'S really kinda creepy isn't it! OMG! At first glance I thought you had screwed with the photo and dumped your head on it ...."

I really hope she isn't saying that I look creepy.

I had Li scan the newspaper ad in for me as I thought it worthy of making note of. I still plan to email McGinnis later this week, and perhaps I'll send a photo of myself along with it (in a non-creepy way) as well as the anecdote of my discovery.

Still... a guy who looks like me who is really into television and is sarcastic. What are the odds?

I'll post any reply he sends me later this week.

rick? me? me? rick?
Posted by Parallel
Chat windowNathan and I have been become more and more alike during the time we've spent working together. It's funny, because in so many ways we're very different people. We're both losing weight, though for Nathan I think it's also somehow affected his height.

We also share the same sick, twisted, demented sense of humor. One co-worker, Larrie, who deals with the seedier side of this business has been politely harassed by those who smile to his face and kiss his ass, then rip on him the second he's gone.

This is not an uncommon thing in any job.

What makes this funny to Nathan and I is that despite their attempts to have him thrown out of the office (asshole manager even emptied out his desk for him once), Larrie keeps coming back.

I find this greatly amusing.

Just the other day, our mobile guy was booted out of his semi-office directly in front of Nathan and I. Larrie got yet another repreive and has managed to make his way BACK into our area. This is quite amusing as it seems to frustrate asshole co-worker. Seeing as how Larrie isn't a bad looking guy, he seems to attract the attention of the women in this room as well as our resident gay co-workers.

As Nathan jokingly stated yesterday: "Oh no, this means lots of Leo ass-wiggling." He's referring to one male co-worker in particular who seems overly smitten with Larrie (who is not gay).

We laughed and giggled as we are the mental equivalent of children. Within an hour and a half of Larrie taking over the office today, however, Leo stopped in front of the door, on cue, and began to chat up with Larrie. Nathan and I, unbeknownst to each other, messaged each other the EXACT SAME THING at the same hour, minute, and second.

"And so it begins."

We burst out laughing and no one knew why. Nathan even stood up and walked away from his desk in disbelief.

I think we need to branch out more.

In totally unrelated news, doesn't this get anyone else's geek up?

Transformers teaser website


Look at that! I mean, LOOK at that! It's simply the gorgeous and it fulfills the dreams of that 7 year old kid in me who wanted desperately for there to be a live-action Transformers movie when I was a kid. Only 20 days until the teaser trailer.

They said it couldn't be done. No way. It'd look awful. And they were right. Technology has finally caught up to a point where we can do this right. Then again, with Michael Bay directing (The Rock), who knows what we'll get. I'm hoping for a stylized action epic with lots of battling robots.

Early word is that Bay is auditioning the original voice actors for all the various parts. This must come to be or else I'll start a protest. I'll probably be the only one there, but it's a start. I mean, come ON. Look at the detail in that eye. This movie is going to be insane but it has to be as perfect as possible. The 7 year old in me demands this come to pass.

Megatron eye
Posted by Parallel
Thursday, June 08, 2006 at 12:56 p.m. | 1 comments
Whose Side?The current headline making story arc for Marvel Comics deals with events in their Civil War comic book written by Mark Millar (The Ultimates) and Steve McNiven (Ultimate Secret). It pushes superheroes towards making a black or white decision about which side their on in what could be taken as a parody of the political stance adopted by George Bush's America.

On one side of the equation we have Iron Man. The character has gone through his paces lately as an alcoholic and recently as a member of the US government. One of the trifecta of powers in the Avengers, Iron Man believes that the time has come where all super-humans must be required to regisier with the government. The alternate is a hostile response, jailing, and other assorted behaviours unbecoming a super-hero.

Captain America, of all people, stands on the other side of the fence as a strong believer in letting people make a choice about whether or not to 'out' themselves. After all, not only are they putting their own lives in danger, but also that of their families and loved ones. Personally, I'm with Cap, but seeing as how super-humans can, and quite regularly do, cause a lot of damage to the world, I can also slightly sympathize with the other side.

It's an interesting story with interesting ramifications. Written by a Scotsman who has made no bones about his feelings about Bush and the war through his stories, Marvel has taken what could be seen as an aggressive stance at the exclusive and hostile administration in the White House. Gay marriage? Not going to happen. Going to fight with us in Iraq? No? Now you're going to need a passport to get into the country.

It's gut-reaction politics at its best and this is what we're seeing in the comics.

Thunderbolts #103As a Canadian, I can, for the most part, sit back and take all of this in without needing to express my feelings one way or another. However, when it does spill over to my neck of the woods courtesy of an aggressive Marvel PR agent, then I get touchy.

I've often expressed distaste for the way in which the Big Two (Marvel and DC) handle their PR machine. Understandably this is much more of a niche market for news agencies, primarily online, and so compromise has to be made much more frequently in order to keep the new material and inside scoops flowing. It's not the best system, but it's hard to see any way around it at this point.

Marvel, as politely as I can put this, can be a bit snobbish when it comes to who they deal with. They are the clique of cliques and while their body of work has made them an entity worthy of admiration, their George Bush "you're in or you're out" antics are frustrating.

Case in point: I received this email second-hand as part of a Marvel PR blitz.

All,

We have a situation and I must play hardball and get everyone on the same page.

A few copies of Thunderbolts #103 got out a week early. This issue (which is due to come out next week) references the ending moments of Civil War #2. There is talk on message boards about what this is. Please do not report on this, reveal this, or write up news stories on this until Weds 6/14, when Civil War 2 is out. Message boards will be message boards, and they will talk there, but please contain it to that. There will be no official confirmation from Marvel.

If any stories about the ending of Civil War #2 are posted on sites before the issue hits stands on 6/14/06 (next week), that site will no longer receive any information on Civil War. Period. This is a sensitive matter and only so much can be done to contain it, but it requires everyone to play along. No one scoop this, or else you will be cut off from Millar, McNiven, Brevoort, Quesada, everyone and everything regarding Civil War, including art and press releases.

This is not open to negotiation.

Thank you for your attention to this. Please let me know you have received this and understand.

Jim McCann



bullyUm, excuse me? Openly threatening news agencies is a low blow, especially considering the politic-heavy storyline they're concerned about here is about granting individuals the rights and freedoms of chosing for themselves. Marvel's bottom line here is either you fall in place or your screwed.

They don't need to do that. Comixfan, for instance, wouldn't publish this as a story ANYWAY. It's spoiler material and not related to what the site currently covers. I can appreciate covering your asses, but a simple "please don't say anything" is much better than "do it and we'll make sure you'll regret it" followed by a bullying of "write back if you understand plain english and get that this is a threat."

Whose side are you on? At this moment, not Marvel's.
Posted by Parallel
Wednesday, June 07, 2006 at 3:51 p.m. | 0 comments
Nathan & Brian - Office Space styleI hate this place.

I really can't stress that enough. It's filled with frustrations, both generated within myself and from outside sources. And yet there's not much I can do about, being a wage slave and wanting so-called "better things" for the future that will be partially funded by my efforts here.

It doesn't mean I have to be happy about it.

Today, for instance, I find myself knee deep in a template change. Every three months or so, we totally revamp the look of our ads (pictures, background, etc.) in a bid to keep our dwindling audience on the hook and entice a few other loveless into our net. It works briefly, sometimes aided by contests that we run.

Nathan and I devised the current one. The premise is simple: give us your best pick-up line, and we'll pick-up the tab. Short and cheesy, we both scoured the net for example lines and put one or two into the contest ad itself. "Your eyes are blue, like the ocean. And baby, I'm lost at sea."

You get the idea. You should have seen some of the ones we didn't pick (but wanted to for our own amusement).

The template change is the greatest amount of work I have to do in this job. The main part is maintenance and upkeep, but changing the entire layout of more than 200 ads is quite a bit of work. It doesn't help that my assistant is getting sloppy in her work, and despite being shown what I want, persists in doing it wrong leaving me to do it anyway. That really makes me angry.

And yet many, including Catherine and Nathan, can't understand WHY it makes me angry. If I hate this place so much, why should it matter how well others do their work? Well, I have this weird pride thing where I feel that if I accept a job I have to perform to my best ability. I hate this place and will likely be quitting sooner than I intended for a long, drawn-out reason that means one of my supervisors is an idiot, but while I'm here I'll do it right.

Need the money, hate the place. Need the money, want my soul to survive. You can't have everything you want.
pick-up line
Posted by Parallel
Monday, June 05, 2006 at 3:24 p.m. | 0 comments
Truffle silhouetteWe've been putting the camera through its paces over the weekend trying out all of the various features. It's been going quite well, and a few shots are posted here, including Truffle in silhouette (more or less), Catherine on the GO, Paul, and Jamie being very polite.

We spent Saturday at Paul and Victoria's for her 30th birthday. Vicky wanted a games weekend so one was had, and I was up until after 3am playing many games that I will never remember. Well, I did rather like Ticket To Ride, but I've got a thing for trains.

It was a good time, though it was too bad we didn't get to know Vicky's friends better. We had Jamie, a very pregnant Nicole, Josh, Steph, Catherine and myself all mostly huddled together, though Josh and Steph branched out more than the rest.

Too bad Catherine went home early not feeling well. I got up early on Sunday to go home to make sure she was feeling better. Of course, having only had 5 and a half hours sleep, I was a walking zombie until I passed out for an hour around 4:30.

JamieJust to put it out there as part of an official record: I won games. Not just one, but a few of them. Most people said it couldn't be done, and I'm sure there will be more 'Brian Loses' cards in the future, but for now, I stand victorious on the ashes of my enemies.

Apologies to Jamie, Nicole, and Steph who were all still asleep by the time I left around 9:40. I just thought I'd cry having to leave you all again so soon after meeting up, so I figured I'd save face and leave early. Nah, I just wanted to get home to Catherine to make sure she was feeling okay.

In totally unrelated news, I got a rather bizarre email today. I'm used to getting a few requests from the posters at Comixfan, a comic news website to which I am but a figurehead, about how they can post, or complaining about other posters, or asking my opinions on things, and the list goes on.

Just last week one kid (I'm assuming) emailed me and asked me if he could interview me about comics for a project he was working on. I agreed and I answered of his few (but bizarrely technical) questions about the X-Men. That's about it. Mostly harmless.

strange girlToday, however, I got a request from a girl (an actual FEMALE on a comic message board) who was new to the site and wanted to know how she could post images of herself from the Wizard World Philly convention. These kinds of emails I ignore as I'm not a bloody FAQ (in fact, I ignore most tech questions), but she sent me the photos she wanted me to post and I laughed myself silly. Then I called Nathan over who offered a succinct 'WTF'?

This is the strangest CXF email I've ever received and I thought it best to share the photo of this girl as Emma Frost with my three readers.

To those of you who say I'm a geek, at least I only BUY comics, I don't dress as characters in them. If I did, however, I'd want to make sure I could pull it off. This girl is pretty far from pulling it off. Is she using a tablecloth?

I wrote her back and told her to use imageshack if she wanted to post her pictures. I figured I owed her that much for amusing me.
Posted by Parallel
Friday, June 02, 2006 at 12:52 p.m. | 0 comments
new cameraSo Catherine and I finally took the plunge that most couples fear to do... after nearly seven years together, we decided last night that it was time to buy a new digital camera.

Hold your congrats until later.

We picked up a Canon Powershot S2 IS after much deliberation, testing, and procrastination. What really cemented it was the fact that the guy at Futureshop took an extra $50 off the already-on-sale price for the camera.

I've attached a link to the online review that we based much of our decisions on. If you're looking to buy a new camera, this site is incredibly helpful as this guy seems to have bought every single camera available on the market, tested it, and revealed the results.

One of the main reasons we bought a new camera was because we're headed to China in a little over a month and we wanted something that would really do well. The camera has a 12x zoom, excellent movie mode, and we bought a 1 gig memory card, up from the 32 mb card we'd been using in Catherine's old camera.

We're quite pleased about it and still figuring out all the little tips and tricks that come with it. The zoom is fantastic, and you can snap photos in black and white, set it for night shooting, fireworks, snow, and more. You can even edit your movies together using the software for your comp or else you can clip movies right on the camera itself.

new cameraIt has also AV outputs, tons of different settings, takes four AA batteries (which we wanted as they're much easier to replace in a pinch) and Catherine's favorite feature is you can set it so that every time you take a picture it barks like a dog. She giggles each time.

We'll likely bring it with us to Paul's on the weekend to give it its first official workout.

I also bought two new pairs of shoes. This is newsworthy because I don't usually do that sort of thing. The last pair I bought was nearly a year ago. I'm awful when it comes to shoes. Thanks to Catherine, though, I'm learning.
Posted by Parallel
Thursday, June 01, 2006 at 3:39 p.m. | 0 comments
AdventI can name all of the video games that had a lasting impact on me when I was growing up. True, I value outdoor experience much more so, but that doesn't change the fact that I'm part of the video game generation born out of the early 80s. I had the Commodore 64, the Atari, NES, and so forth.

Though many games made a huge impression on me, including Double Dragon II, Super Spike V-Ball, Galaga, Altered Beast, Mortal Kombat II, Street Fighter, Punch-Out!!, Contra, Castlevania, Zelda, and many others, it was the epic debut of 'next-generation' beauty Final Fantasy VII on the Playstation that converted me to a new style of game play and tore up more than 60 hours of playing.

That was a huge amount of investment into a single game. It was so enjoyable, that I didn't hesitate to play the next three installments either. None of them, while all good, came close to capturing the joy of that first experience. Anyone know how to breed a gold (or plaid) chocobo?

barretMost of my friends were converted as well. I know Jer was heavily into it, as was Jamie, Paul (Haynes), and I believe Josh got addicted as well. There was something so special and real about that game that hasn't been caputred since. The graphics have improved since then, but I still remember sharing Jer's feelings of shock and loss when Aerith was killed by Sephiroth.

But a game is just a game, and until recently, direct sequels were not part of the Final Fantasy legacy.

Many fans were surprised at the creation of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, a motion picture story that tells of what happened after that final fight against Sephiroth in Midgard. Jer and I almost bought the movie when it was finally put out on DVD, but it had already been sold.

I finally picked it up on DVD the other day and got a lot of what I was expecting. A basic, Square-oriented story that feels like a great blend of cut-scenes and questionable storytelling merit. I was also treated to stunning graphics and great fight scenes.

I have to say it again: the effects in this movie are stunning. When Bahamut is summoned later in the film, you can feel the immensity of this creature. It's a masterpiece of technology and art.

CidGood animated films are hard to come by (as are films in general). This one isn't going to set the world on fire, nor do I think it will become a cult hit of any sort. Instead, it's more a piece that plays to that gamer nostalgia and those who like ludicrous action movies filled with impossible stunts and huge swords. From this angle, the film succeeds.

The rest of the film is so-so. It follows Cloud as he tries to deal with feelings of guilt he's suffered after Aerith was killed. Tifa is still with him, as are two orphans. As part of the fallout from Meteor and Holy, there is a geo-stigma illness that affects some of the people of this world, slowly killing them.

The plot revolves around other Cloud/Sephiroth clones who are trying to find the last bit of Jenova and bring her back to life. Apparently by ingesting some of her, you can also bring back baddie Sephiroth.

My only complaint about this movie is that the great supporting cast from the game doesn't have much to do. All of them appear, but not until later in the film and some, like Cait Sith and Red XIII, only have a couple of lines each. It's great to see them, but I wish they had more to do.

It's worth a rent, not a buy, if only to see the amazing visuals. It won't go down in cinema history as the best film ever made, but it's light-years ahead of the previous film, Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within.

ff sword clashAdvent Children is really only for people who have played the game. Others will think it looks pretty, but it won't mean anything to them. Personally, I'd rather have a direct sequel in video game format, but letting Square show off their artistic abilities here is just too much fun to miss.

The above was way too much review-talk. I'll make this a personal blog again... NOW.

Nathan was looking across the way at evil manager's office. He said to me, speaking of a reflection he could see, "I can see the other side of the room if I stare at his... thing." I started laughing as he corrected himself and said "window." He says his mind failed him, and then looked a bit embarassed. To help, I told Li and Sandy what he said as soon as I could.

Tonight, Catherine and I are going out to buy a new digital camera that will set us back several dollars. Then I'm buying new running shoes. Then... back home, I guess.

Busy life.
Posted by Parallel
Visit the Site
MARVEL and SPIDER-MAN: TM & 2007 Marvel Characters, Inc. Motion Picture © 2007 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 2007 Sony Pictures Digital Inc. All rights reserved. blogger template by blog forum