Lucien’s First Take: Black Panther Teaser Trailer

When I did my review of Captain America: Civil War, I said that I honestly didn’t really know where they could go with a Black Panther film.  He is my second-favorite character in the film, due entirely on the incredible performance of the actor.  That man sells that role.  Marvel’s films have done some damn good casting lately.  Robert Downy Jr as Tony Stark, Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange, the kid as the new Spider-Man, and now Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther.  Perfect casting.  But my perspective in my review still stands.  He’s the Black Panther, and a ruler of a powerful nation that is hidden away.  Where can they possibly go with that?  It’s a little late to get to it, but the teaser was released.  Let’s see.

We start off getting to hear Martin Freeman’s terrible American accent.  No joke, they should have just gotten Hugh Laurie to do the role.  He probably would have been more fun too.  Then we have Andy Serkis coming back from his role in Avengers: The Waste of James Spader’s Talent.  He’s saying that Wakanda isn’t nearly the backwater tribal society that people think.  Okay, liking it.  Some legit nice backdrops.  There is a cool juxtaposition between this waterfall scenery the Panther is at with the tech airplane he is leaving on.  Is the idea of the ancient and the modern clashing gonna come into play?  That could be cool.

The montage that follows seems to paint the film more as a story about Wakanda itself than the titular character.  I kinda like that.  I can’t honestly think of a Marvel film that has done that so far.  Making a movie about a nation and the struggles of being in the modern world is a neat angle that I can see either being done very well or fucked up so horribly bad.

Which is kind of my thought overall of this teaser.  I’m definitely not gonna watch any more trailers for the film.  I genuinely want to be surprised when I see it.  Modern trailers have a bad habit of ruining the entire plot of a film.  I think that’s what’s happened with Spider-Man: Homecoming.  I wouldn’t know.  After I saw how trailer 2 was spoiling the film I stopped it.  Black Panther is either going to be a very interesting dive into a nation and the people in it, or a preachy film about how evil western culture is.  Please don’t let it be that.  Please don’t let this be SJW jerk-fuel.  Marvel has thus far been pretty good about pandering to the forced-diversity crowd.  They want their works to appeal to a mass audience.

But this is new territory.  A piece about a nation and its ruler being unsure where they fit in in the changing world is a tough thing to get right.  I’m going to give this film a chance, though.  Here’s hoping it doesn’t disappoint.

Initial Verdict
7 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s First Take: Life is Strange: Before the Storm Premier Trailer

I’ve made no secret that the original game is my favorite game of 2015.  Aside from the ending, which is stupid on so many levels that it forced me to do a rewrite which is on this site if you want to look for it, I loved it.  The game is truly phenomenal.  And just like Mass Effect 3, I don’t let the fact that the ending is pants-on-head retarded stop me from loving the rest of the franchise.  However, when I heard there was a sequel episodic series coming out, I was more than a little worried.  I mean, where are they going to go with the franchise?  I had games where I both saved and let Chloe die, so are they going to pick up with Max back in Seattle?  Where could this go?  Are we FINALLY going to get an answer to what Max’s power is and how it works?  That’s the biggest question I have after the series so that could be a little interesting.

But today Microsoft decided to unveil the latest season at their press conference.  And…I don’t know what to think.  Let’s take a look at the trailer and then talk about it.

Okay, so we have Chloe, who is one of my favorite female characters of all time, voiced by an amazing voice actress who I also loved in Horizon: Zero Dawn.  She’s in her room, smoking.  I can see the art style is the same, but it does look a lot more detailed.  The facial animations in-particular, which was my biggest gripe with this style.

She’s sitting there, smoking, and we see a raven land on her windowsill.  The previous game had a thing about the blue butterfly that Max took a pic with.  Is that the way it is with the raven?  In all mediums the raven has symbolized death.  A theory just came to me, but I want to keep going before we talk about it.

There’s a montage of things happening, and one of the things that gets my attention is her being in a car with her father when he is hit by a train.  Is that a dream sequence?  If it’s not, then it makes my theory have suddenly a lot more credibility.  There are things like a tree burning, and Chloe climbing the steps of Blackwell Academy with a sign about good luck seniors.  More Chloe being angsty and shit, but always alone.  That interests me.  The previous game made it seem like her and Rachel Amber were nigh-inseparable.

Here’s why I’m worried – part of me is thinking that all this is is just filling in Chloe’s backstory before the events of the game.  Why?  We already know what happened.  That would be stupid.  That would be the biggest waste of time and potential ever.  And the worst thing is that I’m going to buy the first episode to find out.  Because I have to know.  I have another theory, and I’m desperately hoping that it’s true.  If it really is as simple and dumb as what the title suggests, then I am honestly going to be nine kinds of done with Dontnod and their episodic games.

My theory is this – Chloe dies in so many of the timelines that Max has.  Whether it be in the beginning when Nathan shoots her, the junkyard where you can accidentally shoot her while playing with David’s gun, the alternate timeline if you have Max kill her when she asks her too, and at the very end if you choose to sacrifice her.  I always believed that the tornado was the alternate timelines Max created coming together to fuck up reality.  It made sense.  My theory is that this game has Chloe in the nether-space between timelines.  Like a space where nothing is real and she is desperate to escape.  Kinda like the world of the Nexus in Star Trek Generations.  That would be fascinating!  No joke, if they go that route then it makes sense why her reaction at the end where she sees Rachel is one of awe.  Like she can’t believe that she’s actually there.

But I am still worried that this is just rehashing a backstory we already know.  To Square Enix and Dontnod, if that is really the route you go, so help me Groj I will make the longest and most nit-picky post explaining why you are wasting gamers’ money that you have ever seen!  Not that you care, I’m sure, but hopefully my audience will care.  And I’m going to make sure all of you are told as fast as possible.  The first episode comes out August 31st.  Your move, Dontnod

Initial Verdict:
You Have My Attention

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s First Take: Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back Teaser

This is more of an indictment of the video game industry and what a joke it has all become lately.  This year’s E3 honestly isn’t interesting me all that much.  I mean, what are the big new things coming up?  A sequel to the shit-tastic Destiny that I couldn’t possibly care less about but everyone seems to think is just so amazing.  Nintendo has their latest Mario clone that is just the same as the others but this time with an open world.  Neat, I guess?  Kojima’s latest project isn’t going to show, but that doesn’t surprise me.  He’s already said that hoping for a release date in 2018 is not happening so don’t bother.  From Software has already told people not to start hoping for a Bloodborne sequel, but are saying they have something new that people who love that will just love!  I bet.  Everything is a sequel or a remake.  I’m just not that interesting.

Sure, The Last of Us: Part 2 may make an appearance.  That would be cool.  Especially if there is gameplay footage.  I am also hoping for a release date for Detroit: Become Human to make an appearance too, but part of me figures that will be asking too much.  Then people are saying “but what about the remake for Final Fantasy VII?!” Did everyone just forget that that game will be released episodically?  And Square Enix is charging a full-priced game amount for each episode?  Yeah, fuck that noise.  I’m not giving them a cent.  I am not paying $180 for AAA game.  Not happening.  I can get a gaming console for cheaper.  I am just not feeling the magic.

Trailers like this certainly don’t help.

Really?  I mean, really?!  You’re rebooting Bubsy?  Who the fuck asked for this?!  Really, what person anywhere actually asked for this to be a thing?!  With all the franchises that could use being brought into the 21st century.  Like Spyro, or Shantae, or a ton of the old Disney platformers (the remake of the Duck Tales game was awesome!), or any of the games on this list (shameless pandering!), Bubsy is the one we get?!  Let’s analyze this.

We have this annoying cat thing speaking, in a voice that makes me want to tear my ears out.  Not off to a good start, game.  It talks about how the world has all these problems.  Sure, I am down that that.  One of them is the fact that a game studio I am shocked didn’t die with you brought you back to life.  No joke, I genuinely am amazed that the company who brought us Bubsy 3D didn’t go tits-up when the game died on the funeral pyre that was its existence.  But then it decides to tell us that we can ignore all that shit and instead focus on Bubsy!  Oh boy!  We then get to see some generic platforming.  Oh boy.  That sure does look like every other generic platformer that I have ever seen without a single thing that catches my interest.

The reality is that this game looks mediocre.  With all the great 2D characters who could be brought back to life like Gex or Shantae or Earthworm Jim or even Spyro, this is the loser that this company actually wanted to unearth from the gaming graveyard?  I will never understand.  If gaming is becoming another version of Hollywood, I fear for its future.  For real, I do.

Initial Verdict
5 out of 10 – Boring

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s First Take: Star Wars Battlefront II Reveal Trailer

EA’s Battlefront sucked.  I am pretty sure that this game will suck too.  I have no intention of playing it.  But here’s the thing I want to talk about – why I think this game could have had potential.  Because it really could have.  For a little while there I am actually invested in what’s happening.  I don’t get how a trailer can go from engaging to bullshit in seconds.  Maybe it’s because Disney decided to fuck the Expanded Universe.  I don’t know.  Whatever the case, this game goes from looking really cool to looking really dumb in seconds, and that’s amazing.  Let’s take a look at this trailer.

You know what I miss – the Rogue Squadron games.  Those were awesome.  I keep hoping that EA will do something with that license, but they would probably fuck that up anyway.  I bring this up for a reason.  There was this incredible animated short that was done in the style of Gundam where you have Imperial fighters duking it out with the Rebels and kicking their ass.  I have always really wanted to know what the Empire’s story is.  I mean, all we ever see of them is them being evil.  In the old Tie Fighter games, you get to play as an Imperial pilot.  It would have been kinda cool to see things from their point of view.  I mean, when you think about it, the Rebels are some hardcore terrorists.  How many innocent people got killed when they blew up the original Death Star?  They condemned the Ewoks to obliteration when they blew up the second one.  The Rebels are all about peace and justice, but you really do have to wonder how many innocent people’s deaths are on their hands.

So this game has you in the role of an elite stormtrooper.  Cool!  We get to see the war from the Empire’s side!  And especially after the fall of the Emperor.  Awesome!  So is it like a civil war?  Is the Empire collapsing and you get to see from the side of a lost soldier who can’t leave her duty behind?  That’s kinda neat.  We even get to see the Rebels getting their shit messed up.  Really did remind me of that animated short.  Wanna watch that again.  You all should too.

But then the trailer decides to fuck all that cool build-up and go into the stupid.  Every time I see Emo Vader’s stupid lightsaber design I laugh.  The most impractical weapon ever, and they still want us to think that it’s cool.  They are trying WAY too hard.  We also get to reenact the battle with Darth Maul?  Like, from Episode I?  The second-worst film in the entire franchise? (I argue that Episode II is the worst.  The cringe level was so much worse than Episode I) Okay?  Hell, can we PLEASE get some of the cool characters from Cartoon Network’s show?  I’d love to get to play as Cad Bane, who is one of my favorite anti-heroes.  Or maybe a cool General Grievous like in Clone Wars.  Maybe some Ventress action?  Oh, right, that would be cool.  And if it’s cool, it’s not in this game.  Instead, we have Emo Vader and Boring Girl who is played by an actress who can’t act (not even going to see Episode VIII) doing stuff.

If the story of this game is what I think, and you get to play as the Empire on the losing side of the war with the Rebellion, this game could have at least some potential.  But this is EA and DICE.  How much hope do you really have that this game won’t suck?

Initial Verdict
6 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s First Take: Dear White People (Netflix Trailer)

You know, I’m starting to think that anti-SJWs are becoming just as bad as the SJWs they mock.  Why?  Because it seems like every little thing now leads them to some stupid boycott that won’t work and doesn’t really matter, yet gets trending on Twitter to make them feel like they are doing something important.  Recently, the trailer that we are going to watch got them all to have their panties in a bunch and start a boycott of Netflix.  Really?  Over this?  I’m a fucking hipster douche canoe who doesn’t even have streaming on Netflix and still does DVDs and even I see this as stupid.  Yeah, you just learned something about me that really makes me look pathetic.  I understand if you look down upon me.  It’s the same reason that I will have such a hard time getting into downloading games instead of having a disc copy.

This stupid boycott was started over a trailer that has a like/dislike ration that eerily mimics another big SJW-approved piece of work.  I wonder what that could be…?  And just like that one, battle lines have been drawn.  The title of this work is “Dear White People,” and I thought that we would look at this trailer and break down our impressions.  Weigh in with a more sensible voice about the nature of how good or bad it is.

So, we first get to see an image of stereotypical white people.  We have Douchebag Von Asshole V, and Betty Steenvirgin waving, as a black woman is about to tell me what kinds of Halloween costumes are acceptable.  Here’s the answer – any fucking kind I want.  I have the right to dress whatever way I want for Halloween.  As do you.  As does anyone who is watching this bullshit.  If you don’t like it, you are free not to associate with me.  As you are clearly a person with far-left, SJW political opinions, I doubt we would get along anyway.

Then it has a headline – America Needs.  Boy, I can think of a thousand things that I could fill in that end space with.  How about – to get away from dogmatic thinking?  Or maybe – to kick these SJWs to the curb?  Or, perhaps – to stop being so fucking pussy that we can’t deal with opposing points of view?  Yeah, those are all great things to fill in there.

We then get her deciding to go into a tirade about blackface.  Here’s where I am going to say something unpopular – I don’t give a fuck about blackface.  Really, I don’t.  Is it stupid?  Yeah.  Does it portray an ethnic group in a way that may be unflattering?  Probably.  But here’s the thing – that kind of shit only offends you if you have some kind of allegiance to your race.  This is something that I do not have. For example, we see our white people stereotypes.  Are they unflattering?  Sure.  Do I care?  Not at all.  Hell, I think they are kind of funny.  Like the cliche of what liberal elitist snobs are supposed to be.  These are the same kinds of people who are listening to what this bitch has to say and taking it seriously.  It isn’t the frat boys who actually want to live their lives as they see fit without breaking the law.  It isn’t the middle class people who are just going through their day-to-day and don’t give a flying fuck about all this identity politics stuff.  It’s yuppie snobs who are in Ivy League universities who are the biggest proponents of this kind of rhetoric.  The very people this woman is using to deride white people are the exact ones who are the first to come to her defense.

I have no allegiance to white people.  Hell, I don’t have an allegiance to the human race.  I’m a misanthrope.  I hate my species off-hand.  So I take people as they come.  If someone wants to mock white people, I say go for it!  Hell, I’ll join you.  I have made fun of hipsters with such gusto that my disdain for them has reached epic proportions.  I’ve made fun of rednecks.  I’ve made fun of yuppie Ivy League college students.  You want to make fun of white people?  Go right the fuck ahead.  I don’t get offended because it doesn’t mean a thing to me.  My race matters just as little to me as your race does.  I don’t give a fuck about your race either.  Fuck ethnic groups and their pet issues.  It’s beneath my attention to talk about.

So when this woman gets all butthurt about blackface, my thought is – why do you care?  I’m sure I’ll get someone who will come on here about how black people have been marginalized and shit.  Well, that was then.  Back then, blackface was an insulting thing to black people.  Nowadays, people don’t do it because it isn’t funny.  It’s not culturally acceptable.  The people in her video as example of blackface all seem to have something in common – they are young adults.  They are people in their early to mid 20’s.  The years when they are rebelling against societal norms and living on the edge.  It’s frat people and college punks looking to be offensive on purpose.  Gee, when you look at it like that, it’s almost like she is giving these people attention that they were already looking for.  Much like how Bill Maher wore a costume of Steve Irwin with a stingray barb in his chest shortly after he died.  Yeah, that was offensive, but it was done intentionally.  Getting mad about him about it just feeds into what he was looking for in the first place.

These people aren’t dressing up as you for Halloween, sweetie.  They are dressing provocatively, with the intent of getting reactions.  The fact that you let it affect you so strongly says more about you than it does about them.

And that’s it.  So, is the entire premise just some radio chick who uses the latest SJW talking points with black comedy interspersed among it?  Huh, maybe Madea will make a cameo.  Is this some big statement against white people?  No.  That’s stupid.  Would I ever watch it?  Nope.  I don’t go to Everyday Feminism because there’s only so much stupid I can handle.  Why would I watch a series personifying that kind of thinking?  And here’s the thing – this series will likely go the exact same route as that other SJW hill they had to die on.  It will be forgotten not long after it debuts.  So, with that in mind, let me give my Final Verdict.  For those who know how I rate things, it will make sense.

Final Verdict
5 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s First Take: Blade Runner 2049 Teaser Trailer

My girl and I recently saw Deni Villeneuve’s latest film Arrival.  It was smart science fiction done perfectly right.  I have SO been missing smart sci-fi.  With all the stupid shit that I get subjected to all the time in big blockbusters, it is just awesome that I saw a science fiction film that isn’t just shit blowing up and people killing people.  In fact, the killing in the movie is treated as something that should be seen off-screen.  He wanted to make the movie about the characters that it’s happening to.  I love this guy’s movies.  He takes complicated themes and applies them to kinds of films that we’ve seen a million times.  Granted, they aren’t for everyone, but he doesn’t shy away from that.  When I heard that there was going to be a sequel to Blade Runner, I was so fucking nervous.  I mean, there are so many ways that that could be fucked up.  Since Blade Runner is one of my favorite movies of all time, my nerves were piqued.  But then I heard who is directing it, and I saw Arrival.  Now I know that it is in perfect hands.  You couldn’t ask for better.

Got to thinking – maybe Arrival was Denis trying his hands at sci-fi.  Like, he wanted to see what he could do with a story that is as overdone as it gets, just to see if he could tackle a film that is slow, methodical, and filled with all kinds of subtext.  He nailed it, and because he nailed it once, I am positive that he can do the first film justice.  They have released a teaser trailer, and this is all I am going to be watching of the trailers that are released, because this was all I needed to see to get interested in seeing where the story goes.

We open with a scene of the dismal gray of the world.  Since the original film borrowed so much from noire style, I like that this movie is making sure to remind us that they haven’t forgotten that.  We then get to see a very orange world.  Where is this?  The film doesn’t up and tell us that, which is all for the better.  Maybe one of the off-world colonies?  That honestly would be pretty sick.  Our protagonist is approaching some dilapidated structure.  Already we are seeing subtlety.  Did you notice the door to the building that our protagonist enters?  Above them there is some writing.  It’s Korean.  That’s just awesome!  Since the street language from the original film was an amalgamation of various languages, it’s kind of cool that the building that this guy enters has Korean on it.  Villeneuve is already all over making this feel right.

Our protagonist is played by Ryan Gosling.  Excellent.  After watching Drive, I know that he’s the perfect pick for a movie like this.  He can do slow plotting and subtle acting.  He’s one of those actors who really gets into a role.  Can’t wait to see how he acts off of Harrison Ford.  Speaking of, we get to hear our favorite Blade Runner!  Yay!  And he doesn’t look medicated!  My biggest problem throughout ALL of The Force Awakens was how Ford looked like he couldn’t possibly care less about being in that film.  Now he actually looks like he gives a fuck.  This can only mean good things.  Villeneuve is something if a deranged perfectionist, so the way I see it, if Ford was willing to stick this out, it meant something to him.  Either that or the studio held a gun to his head and threatened a lawsuit if he didn’t comply.  But I’d like to think that he did it because he wanted to.

There are so many questions.  In the original film, the assumption was that Deckard was a replicant.  The theory is that all Blade Runners are.  They create replicants to hunt other replicants.  It’s a twisted reality.  So, since replicants have a life span, what’s the story with him?  What has happened since the events of the original film?  Gosling’s character says that things were “so much simpler back then.”  I take it that the replicant situation has gone more than a little out of control.  It was hinted that that was the inevitable result of using cloned people to do the dirty work that no one wanted to do.  That some kind of violent uprising was inevitable.  What’s happened?  Since it is Villeneuve working on the film, I know that there are some amazing answers that will be coming.

We leave the orange-tinted world that Deckard is in, and go back the rainy city.  A reminder to us that it is in the world of Blade Runner?  I suppose.  But the real treat is getting to hear a snippet of that iconic theme as the title comes up.  Font and all, this is so perfect.  I cannot wait to see where this goes.  Next October can’t come fast enough.

Initial Verdict
9 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s First Take: The Last of Us: Part II Trailer

In 2013, there debuted a game that was not only my favorite game for the PS3, but also one of my favorite games of all time.  It starred a duo who I have not only loved as characters, but written Critical Examination posts about.  My contention is that both of them have given up something in order to survive in the world of this series.  The name of this series means the last part of yourself that you are willing to throw away in order to stay alive.  Joel describes himself as a survivor to justify the horrible things he has done and continues to do throughout the first game.  At the end, Ellie chose to make the sacrifice in order to continue living.  Will the next game keep that idea going?  From what I have seen so far, absolutely.  Let’s take a look at the trailer.

Alright, we start off seeing somebody who we don’t know tuning a guitar.  I love how detailed at all is.  They start to play, and a familiar voice can be heard.  The song is a miserable one about how she is no longer a good person, and to be seen as good is wrong.  While singing, we see somebody coming into the house.  We don’t see his face, as he walks through what looks to be a real bloodbath.  A lot of people died in there, recently.  The man is holding a gun, so maybe he will be the next one that our girl Ellie decides to waste.  Sucks to be him.

However, as he gets to the door where she’s playing, another familiar voice asks her a question – what are you doing, kiddo?  Joel’s back, and as the paternal figure he has always been, he’s with his young charge.  I’m curious to see how their father-daughter relationship has grown over the last few years.  Ellie has done some growing up, and since she’s covered in blood when we get a close-up of her, she clearly has gotten used to a violent life.  He then asks – are you really going to go through with this?  I think this question has significance.  If my theory is right, and The Last of Us represents the last part of yourself that you are willing to give up to survive, then his question is asking her if she is willing to make the sacrifice once-again.  Another instance has been put to her to make the sacrifice of her humanity to survive.  To which she responds – I’m going to kill every last one of them.  So, yeah.  She is willing to make the sacrifice.  Joel being her surrogate father has come full circle, and now his way of surviving has passed on to her.

There are a lot of things that I am curious about, though.  For instance – what happened to Tommy?  Why did they leave?  Did something bad happen?  There are a lot of unanswered questions, and I am so stoked to see what those are.  No release date, but I am a patient man when it comes to Naughty Dog.  They don’t release games half-done, so I got nothing but time.

Initial Verdict
8 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick