Lucien’s Review: Shin Godzilla

What a fascinating film I just watched.  I love me some old Godzilla movies.  The effects are so bad, but the kaiju fighting is just too much fun.  Plus, watching them dubbed adds an extra layer of cheese that cannot be compared.  I didn’t really like the new Godzilla movie that America made, partly because there was so little of the actual monsters.  A similar criticism could easily be leveled at this movie, but I won’t.  Why?  Because this film just took the most fascinating approach.  There is a lot to unpack here, so let’s get down to it.

The plot of this film is just focused exclusively around Godzilla.  No other kaiju to fight.  This movie has our titular monster as the big bad, which again sounds like it would be boring, but this movie just so odd.  It tells the story of a new Godzilla in a world where he never existed, now coming for Japan (what is his beef with that place?  What the fuck did they do to him?) and the Japanese government desperately trying to save their country from destruction.

This film is perhaps the most political movie I’ve seen in years.  It’s weird.  95% of this movie is spent with characters just talking.  There is so much talk about Japanese politics that you almost forget that you’re watching a Godzilla film for a while.  I wanna hate that, but I don’t.  Getting to see this Japanese government and some genuinely-likeable characters desperately trying to figure out what to do in the face of an international threat that is looking to take excessive measures to stop Godzilla is genuinely touching.  The head of a special department who is trying to figure out a way to stop Godzilla specifically is my favorite.  You genuinely get the feeling that he is invested in this effort to save his country.

Since the entirety of the movie revolves around the political sphere, if you hate listening to people talk about politics for almost the entirety of the 2 hour runtime of this film, you’re gonna hate it.  That’s the big and small of it.  Even when you see things happening in service to the plot of the film, they always find a way to bring it back to the the government’s efforts and how international pressure comes into play.  It’s actually kinda smart.  You genuinely feel for these people who are stuck in a world where they have red tape and public to worry about.  I like this perspective.  In the American film, it was all about a small section of military characters, none of whom were particularly interesting.  This movie has a kind of authenticity because they keep it focused on Japan and make the outside world as not evil, but disconnected.  You can take all this for what you will.

That being said, this film has a LOT of elements that are silly to the point of ridiculousness.  Since there are a lot of American characters in this movie, you get some genuinely funny Engrish.  This female character who is the American liaison to Japan is my favorite.  It’s clear that she’s a Japanese actress and English is NOT her first language.  But believe it or not, they get real American actors to play American parts.  The problem is that the writing for these actors is clearly done by somebody where English is their first language.  So the dialogue is so fucking stilted.  It’s kind great.  Oh boy.

Speaking of ridiculous things, let’s talk about the effects in this movie.  In the old films, it’s clearly someone in a suit.  This time they decided to trade in the suit for CG, and it’s…terrible.  I love it.  When you first see Godzilla in his original form, it looks so bad that I was laughing my ass off.  The eyes especially.  That was the funniest thing I’ve seen in a long time.  Maybe that’s why they worked so hard to keep the focus off him.  Because too much time with the monster and we would have been laughing our asses off.

But it isn’t devoid of cool effects.  There is one scene that just blows me away.  It’s when they finally do real damage to the monster, and he loses his cool.  What follows may not be amazing, but is done with so much finesse and really good musical cues that you feel how desperate the situation is.

One thing I do wanna point out is a track used in this film.  When I first heard it, I laughed my ass off.  It’s so clearly robbed from Evangelion.  I mean, to the point of shameless.  If it wasn’t for the fact that I know that FUNimation is at least partly licensed in the production of this film, I’d be amazed that they haven’t sued the living shit out of this studio.  It’s so obviously the track from Evangelion.  They do change it just a little bit later in the film, but it’s not enough to make me think it’s anything else.

I also wanna talk about this film’s weird habit of suddenly taking strange angle shots right the fuck out of nowhere!  I mean nowhere!  They’ll suddenly have a shot from the weirdest angle and then cut away.  Whoever was behind that decision, I want to know why.  These shots just come and go in a split-second, and serve no purpose in any scene they are in.

Overall, I’m not sure how to rate this film.  There are a TON of flaws that one could easily nit-pick to death.  But, I had fun watching it.  This is a genuinely entertaining movie, for me.  Maybe it’s because I liked these characters, and the politics they were talking about was genuinely interesting.  I don’t know.  But your mileage with this movie will vary.  So glad I watched it with subtitles.  If I had had to suffer the dub, I know I wouldn’t have been able to take ANY of it seriously.  The genuine strength of the performances comes out only in original Japanese.  This review may not make much sense to you, but this is the best I can talk about it.  Do with my review what you will.

Final Verdict
7 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick

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SIONL: Assassin’s Creed V: Rising Sun

Here’s something to know about Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag.  It was awesome.  It was so awesome.  A compelling story, interesting characters, a beautiful setting and having your own ship to travel around on.  Unity was such a step in the wrong direction for the franchise.  The next game is going to be set in Victorian London, and you know what – it is going to suck too.  It’s all in one city.  One beautifully-rendered city.  But you know, it’s gotten tired.  Before I explain why, I know for a fact that people are going to come at me with – why are you calling foul on it being in one city?  Brotherhood was all in one city, and you say that you like that game!  Here’s the thing about that – you had a TON of side-missions in Brotherhood that took you out of Rome.  You see a lot of places, doing a lot of various missions.  That game might have been a cash-grab, but it made up for laziness in one area by having others shine.  That’s smart.  That is the only reason that I am forgiving of its mistakes.

As I said, Unity was a step in the wrong direction.  You were in Paris, almost the entire time.  For real, you almost never leave Paris.  And all of it is open to exploration, so you can do whatever you want.  Nothing changed.  Despite how gorgeous the environment was, it got old after a while.  Mostly because it all kind of blended together.  Were it not for the map, you wouldn’t know where you were.  With all the great elements that Black Flag introduced, Unity felt like going backwards.  And you know what – it suffered for that.  The other thing that Unity went backwards on was the real-world connection.  In Black Flag, it was kinda cool.  You were this nameless person working for Abstergo, seeing this trippy new product.  I could go on about Unity’s flaws, but there is something I want to talk about.  It is a game that has been proposed, and it looks awesome.

It is called Assassin’s Creed V: Rising Sun.  Some wonderful human being has created a bunch of pieces of artwork for the game, and I am going to show them to you, along with providing a link to their site, because I want to give this person all the promotion I can.  Here is a link to their page, now let’s talk about this!

First, here’s the logo.

Assassin's Creed V Rising SunTell me that that doesn’t get you into this!  The subtle colors, it is beautiful!  But that’s just the start.  Wanna see a look at what the place would look like?

Assassin's Creed V Rising SunHell fuckin’ yeah!  I wanna explore every inch of that place!  I want to interact with the people.  I want to know that culture!  Given that this isn’t even an actual game in the canon, and we’re just thinking here, I have so many ideas on it.  I like the idea of it being during a kind of Last Samurai time period, when Japan is changing.  You have firearms becoming a part of Japanese culture, and the Samurai are resisting change.  I refuse to believe that their ideals wouldn’t mesh very well with the Assassin’s.  The Assassins gain a loyal following in Japan, but the Templar are soon to follow, trying to erode Japanese culture.  Not on the Assassins and Samurai’s watch!  The ideas are just non-stop!

But what is a place without characters?  Something that Unity lacked was strong characters.  What would our characters in this game look like.  Well, our artist had some ideas.

Assassin's Creed V AssassinsWho is boss?  These fucking guys, that’s who!  For real, how epic is that?!  What was that line from Zombieland…?

When Tallahassee goes Hulk on a zombie, he sets the standard for not to be fucked with.  No fear, nothing to lose, what can I say, it’s like art.

These guys are like that.  They set the standard for not to be fucked with.  I see that hooded guy with his sword, that’s a sign to leave, fast.  So much awesome!  Which brings up another thing – what about their swords.  The Assassin’s weapon of choice is the hidden blade.  That weapon has a lot of meaning in their culture.  But not so with the Samurai.  For them, their weapon is the sword.  Katana, to be more precise.  Each warrior’s weapon is his soul.  Anyone who tries to take a samurai’s sword is going to lose a hand.  Or both, depending.  How would a weapon so cherished mesh with Assassin culture?

Assassin's Creed V WeaponsThis may just be one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.  You know, when I hear people decrying Ubisoft for not listening to fans, this is what I think of.  I think of a game where there are so many good ideas for, and it isn’t being made.  Maybe because this franchise became something that gets released every year.  It’s become Ubisoft’s Call of Duty.  Something that truly is unfortunate, because you know what – this franchise once had so much potential.  If it was allowed to germinate and for good ideas to sprout and grow and develop, this is the kind of thing we could get!  Does this not look so awesome?!

When I see all the wasted potential in Unity, it makes me wish that anyone at Ubisoft listened to their fans.  Because come on!  This would be awesome!  Let us explore Japan!  Let’s see the countryside, Kyoto, all over the country.  How many of you are with me?  Is there a petition we can make for them to make this game?  And to not just crank it out, like Unity?  For real, let’s get on that, people.  Because the ideas of great people are being wasted.  Ubisoft, you already are looking bad.  Here’s a way to save face.  Wish I could get involved.  I could easily make story-boards for them.  Hell, I can work on both the stuff in the Animus and in the real world.  Let’s go back to that guy in that office building!  Maybe he’s looking into a new series, and is looking through the memories of some new person Abstergo has taken prisoner.  Then, you could help him/her out and save them!  Lots of great ideas.  If Ubisoft doesn’t get it together soon, it could all be for nothing.

Until next time, a quote,

“A perfect cherry blossom is a wondrous thing.  One could spend their whole life looking for it, and it would not be a wasted life.”  -Katsumoto, The Last Samurai

Peace out,

Maverick

Hit the Road, Beck, and Don’t You Come Back

Well, an empire is coming to an end on Fox News.  It is a joyous day to be a person here in America right now.  In fact, it couldn’t be any better.  One of the biggest marks of shame on American television is going to be gone by December of this year.  When I heard the news, only one thought went racing through my head- about fucking time!  For real, this couldn’t be any better timed.  It is a sign to me that the liberal community may just have a little bit of hope in this country.  And if not the liberal community, at least everybody who hates listening to Glenn Beck speak.  That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, Glenn Beck is leaving Fox News forever!  Let the cheering commence.

I know what you’re thinking, it’s too good to be true.  Well, it isn’t.  Fox News released a statement this month saying that they will gradually phase Beck out of their network, and by December, he will be gone.  This is no surprise to most people who pay attention to the news pretty intently.  This man’s insanity has been pretty apparent for the few years that he has been on Fox News.  He began his short stint on January, 2009.  Right off the bat, people could tell that there was something kind of off about this guy.  His lengthy rants about the conspiracies that are all around us have gotten some rather unpleasant attention.  Some of his free-association conspiracy theory ethos have actually made me laugh because it is so stupid that it actually can be funny.

But there are a lot more of his rants that are not funny at all.  They are not funny in the slightest.  Some of what this guy has said has been more than a little heartless.  Granted, some of the pwnage associated with his heartlessness has sometimes been more than a little awesome.  A YouTuber made a video where he combined a video of Donald Duck with clips from Glenn Beck’s radio and tv show.  It was awesome!  But the fact remains that Beck has said a lot of harsh, and ultimately heartless things.

His campaign against the group Acorn was just one example.  He was also one of the people who jumped on the bandwagon that Fox News had against Shirley Sherrod.  He was one of the people who was all for the concept of “death camps” during the debate over Healthcare Reform.  He openely attacked the democratically elected President.  He was encouraging people to “rise up.”  He is a traitor to the system of democracy by encouraging people to rise up against it.  Of course, when somebody would do something violent in his name, or be caught before doing so, he would almost cry for non-violence. 

But his actions show a very different picture.  He has been telling people for years that the government is the enemy, and that we must rise up against it.  He said in one broadcast that we must shoot people in the head!  This crazy bastard actully suggested that!  He thought that killing other people should be a complete viable option when it comes to deal with the nation’s problems.  But his heartlessness goes further than that.  He also has said on several occasions that the reason for the tragedies that happen around the world, like the one in Japan, is because God was sending us a message.  Yes, and everybody says that God is such a loving character.  What a load of crap.

There have been some rather compelling arguments that Beck is just doing an act.  Stephen Colbert was perfectly suited at making a point about this.  He showed an almost eerie comparison between Glenn Beck’s act, and his own satire of conservative punditry.   And there are compelling points to be made there, but that’s not what matters.  What matters is that this guy, this sack of human flesh that actually believes himself to be a person of worth, is telling this stuff to an audience who actually buys into what he says.  And there is proof that his audience buys into it.  There is a reason that Glenn comes onto television and cries his crocodile tears for non-violence.  The reason is that he is pandering to an audience who is more than a little, shall we say, easily-persuaded. 

Tell people for long enough that killing political officials should be a viable option to dealing with political discourse, and people will start believing it.  It is a dangerous concept, and while I’m not against the freedom of speech, I have the freedom to call Glenn Beck an asshole.  And that is really what he is.  Either he is a complete piece of shit who buys into what he says, or he is a complete snake, who will do anything for money.  It really is that simple.  there are no other options, not really. 

There was a recent bit on The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell where Glenn and his dumbass sidekick on the radio were playing a clip of O’Donnell losing control of his emotions, and laughing maniacally while doing so.  O’Donnell was reading a letter from a woman who depended on Planned Parenthood for her breast examinations (they do more than abortions, in case you didn’t know.  Only 3% of their business revenue comes from abortions.  I know that you Republicans will be all sad).  In the end, she asked him if there was a way that he could reach the people who were attacking Planned Parenthood.  O’Donnell lost control because he knew, deep-down, that there was no way that he could do this. 

Apparently, Beck thought that a woman who needed breast examination is funny, that a woman who depends on Planned Parenthood is funny.  The fact is that whether he believes in what he says or not, Glenn Beck is an asshole.  He is a human being who is not worth the skin that he sits in, and I am personally very glad that he will be going away, and never coming back.  And that is what is going to happen.  Beck thinks that he is going to follow in the steps of Oprah and get his own channel where it’s a 24 hours a day Beck-athon.  But we know that’s not going to be the case.  He is going to fade away, and that is a great thing, too.  Au revoir, Beck, and good riddance.

Until next time, a quote,

“…And then the big one, Glenn Beck, Lonesome Rhodes his own self, off to join the invisible 24 hour a day, Glenn Beck-athon network…as Beck wraps up a program whose ratings have been plummeting steadily for over a year…”  -Keith Olbermann, The First Guess, Glenn Beck  (great to see you back making videos, Keith, and I look forward to seeing you back on the air this spring!)

Peace out,

Maverick