Archive for June, 2019

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Last year during the anual Game Awards the latest Mortal Kombat was revealed. Legions of fans, you can count me among them, went nuts. The excitement chart was close to blowing. Now factor in the reveal date being December leading to the announcement of a world wide release in April of this year! That, game folks, is how you do a reveal. In next to no time Mortal Kombat 11 would be with us gamers. I was very happy and right away I was back playing Mortal Kombat X in preparation for the latest addition to the classic beat ’em up saga.

I was a kid when the first Mortal Kombat came out. Remember Mortal Kombat Monday? I do. I literally grew up with this series as a constant in my life. Right through middle school, high school, college, university and then the adult workplace. Mortal Kombat was always in my life and I felt comfortable each time a new game was out. I knew the team behind the series, NetherRealm Studios, would never let me down.

After what seemed like an age, but was actually four months, Mortal Kombat 11 was in my hands. I installed the game and blasted through the game’s story mode. I was up to one thirty in the A.M. As I expected the game had risen to meet my expectations. So I thought.

Here’s the twist and man do I hate what I’m about to write. The latest Mortal Kombat was made in less than ideal circumstances. Having your, the gamers, back appears to be the last thing W.B. games and NetherRealm wanna do. What should have been a great Arcade like fighter experience was now controlling how you played and progressed through the game. Held at gunpoint are the amaze unlockables – costumes/concept art/fatalities etc. Where once you’d be rewarded such gems through playing various game modes naturally this latest installment forces you to obtain them via it’s vile Krypt/Towers/currency system. Basically it means you have to GRIND (urgh) to get a shot at what you wanna get and even then there’s no guarantee you’ll get it. See a big portion of the Krypt is randomised. Shit init?

What hell is this? I don’t know. I’m lost as to what possessed the team over at NetherRealm to think this was a good idea. In Mortal Kombat X it was a pleasure completing a random objective in a Tower and being rewarded with a sweet new costume for your character. That game, like prior installments, is full of awesome surprises like that. Stuff you obtain naturally and fairly through good old gameplay.

The fatality/brutality system is a mess. Previous games, right, if you got the input online for a fatality and used it in the game it unlocked it for your move list ’cause you’d performed it. Here if you do that it’ll let you perform the move but it won’t retain the inputs. It makes you unlock it via that shit Krypt/currency system. WHO has the time to pour that amount of effort into video games? In game grinding/currency is never a good idea. Soon as I see that kind of shit I’m like “I could use this time to play some other game…for ya know something crazy like…fun?

Here’s another shining example of the shit show Mortal Kombat 11 can be. Right after loading the game up you’re given the option to buy a fighter who YOU UNLOCK IN CHAPTER 4 of the story mode. Do they need our money that badly? Which brings me to my next beef. The DLC plan. Right. So before the game came out the YouTuber guy, Dynasty, called out NetherRealm with a concern they’d be holding back legacy characters behind paid DLC. Mortal Kombat head boss Ed Boon slapped Dynasty down. No way they’d do that. Cut to the DLC reveal announcement. Four of the six characters are Mortal Kombat classic characters fans have wanted to see back for a long time and you’re gonna pay for them. Now, look, I’m not the entitlement generation. You want them? They take work. You gotta pay for ’em. I get that. It’s more the smoke and mirrors that pisses me off. Clearly that kind of DLC plan was always going to be the DLC plan so just own it and don’t try to play it down. Same with the alternate costumes, usually this sort of stuff is free to unlock, like seriously check out all the costumes you can unlock in Mortal Kombat X for FREE. There’s tons. Not anymore. You gotta pay for ’em. Before anyone brings up the ‘skins’ in Mortal Kombat 11 just hold off. They pale in comparison. Kitana has TWO costumes. That’s it. Oh she’ll have more, don’t worry, but you’ll probably have to pay for ’em. Most of the skins are simply different colours.

Man this is tough to write up. I love/hate this game. I love and appreciate the awesome gameplay and art direction that went into creating the world. The gameplay and the fighting is spot on. Everyone who worked hard on that stuff warrants applause and a great wage. Same for the Krypt. Even though I hate it it’s a good idea and I’m sure the actual folks who worked on bringing the mini third person adventure mode to life did not make the decision to lock everything behind a wall of bull shit. I hate how arrogant the game feels in what it asks of the players time. I gave up money. In return I just want fun and a fair shot of gaining cool stuff if you’re going to put it in your game. Ya know like in your last game Mortal Kombat X?

Another thing I hate is all the news that broke about the pretty rotten work environment employees at NetherRealm endured during the making of this game and prior games from the studio. Seems like a studio I felt was a beacon of video games is actually anything but. Kotaku and other sites did some really great articles on all of that and I’d urge anyone to seek them out ’cause you should be made aware of the kind of studio (and people) you are handing your hard earned cash over to. After I read the blowout articles I uninstalled the game. It sat on a shelf for two months. I nearly gave it away twice. Then I stopped and thought “Hundreds of people worked hard on this game. It wasn’t a solo effort from some arsehole but one which came from many peoples sacrifice and dedication, people who just wanted a shot at working on a classic video game series” I want to support and appreciate their work, and yea, I won’t lie I like game (classic towers/story mode) and I paid for it. I ain’t no streamer or influencer. I don’t get sent shit for free. Still I’m delighted it gave me pause because next time NetherRealm puts out a game I’ll be holding off until I see if it’s the NetherRealm who just wants to waste my time, for the most part, grinding for cosmetic shite and treating their employee’s like crap or if they’ve turned a corner. W.B. games have stated they’d look into how NetherRealm behaves moving forward and some who work there haven’t had a bad word to say but still the stink is out there now.

I doubt anyone of influence at NetherRealm will ever see this crap I write but on the tiny chance they do listen to this – treat your employee’s with respect. They’re all human. DELAY your game if it means a more stress free work environment. I don’t give a shit, I’d bet most gamers wouldn’t, just put the stupid game out when it’s ready. I’d rather some video game get held back than hear about peoples health being put at risk. Stop the microtransaction crap too. You say it’s not that but it so is. Come on. We know the score now. ‘Randomised treasure’ ? PUH-LEASE! Get out of here with that.

It’s a pity. There’s a boss Mortal Kombat game buried here under all of the twisted shit which has since come to light. I guess thanks for the good stuff and major thanks to the actual hard workers who poured their time and passion into what’s a belter of a game at its core.

Child’s Play (2019) NO SPOILERS

Posted: June 25, 2019 in Movies
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When I found out Hollywood was remaking Child’s Play my first thought was why? It’s not like the franchise was dormant for years. Cult of Chucky (Child’s Play 7) is barely two years old!

Also, not sure if you know this or not, there’s a television series on the way. Said series picks up after the events of the Cult of Chucky and is set to debut next year.

My next dreaded thought was whether this remake would cause production on the TV show to come to a halt. The answer is no. So what’s the deal?

Put simply the original studio who put the very first movie out in the late 1980’s still owns the rights to everything related to said movie. It’s a recognisable brand. Brands sell tickets. So here we have 2019’s version of Child’s Play and results are good.

The plot of Child’s Play is the same as the one you remember. Andy, a young kid, is gifted a Buddi doll, from his mum. In the remake the doll is a A.I. device that hooks up all the tech in your house to the cloud and pretty much runs the show. Like an Amazon Alexa thing but with legs. The doll is constantly learning from its environment and the information it processes from the cloud. Making matters worse is how the doll has imprinted on Andy. As far it is concerned Andy is his BEST friend in the whole wide world. Nobody is going to come between him, once again going by the name of Chucky, and Andy. Did I mention Chucky has had all his safety barriers turned off? Well oh shit. Yea. He has. Things start out fun and then turn dark and deadly real fast.

Here’s what I liked about this new take on a classic. First of all the A.I. angle is boss. It’s fitting for the age we live in. Everyone is connected to the internet or cloud or whatever the hell these days. More and more humanity is getting too comfortable giving over control of our everyday life to machines. The film has some dark fun with that notion of A.I. going crazy and helps to give it an identity all its own.

Next up are the characters and the excellent cast. Gabriel Bateman (Andy) is brilliant. He’s not your typical movie kid and his awesome performance sells the whole thing. Usually kid leads in horror don’t really work out that well but that’s not the case here. The same can be said of his buddies who he teams up with as the film goes along. The movie, thanks to the likeable young cast, has a Stranger Things/Loser’s Club vibe and I liked that about it. Legion’s Aubrey Plaza takes on the role of Andy’s mum and she’s so good. Not your typical horror movie ‘mum’. She’s not the perfect parent by any stretch of the imagination but that make her come across as more relateable. Brian Tyree Henry (FX’s Atlanta) is another solid addition to the cast. His cop with a heart is one of the more layered characters in the film and he’s great in the role. Like, so, aren’t we sick of the same old perfect lead characters in these kind of films? With zero character flaws? I am. The fact the people behind the movie put the work into crafting real and (most important) likeable characters goes a long way. I appreciate that sort of shit.

It can’t have been easy for Mark Hamill to take on the now legend making role of Chucky but he does it justice. Easily putting his own mark on the iconic slasher killer doll. In fact, I’m just going to come out and say, the relationship between Andy and Chucky in this version of Child’s Play works way better than in the original film. In this film you get that these two are real friends to start out with.  See ’cause Andy begins the film as a loner and he only has Chucky to hang out with when his mum’s not about. When the shit hits the fan (and wow does it!) and the bodies start piling up it’s a bit sad when Chucky doesn’t even realise what he’s been doing is seen as wrong.

One key scene in the film plays into that idea in a great way and it’s a boss little horror Easter egg for fans of the genre.

On directing duties is one Lars Klevberg. I’ll be honest, I had NO idea who he was. All I knew about this guy was his other feature, Polaroid, had been shot and was sitting on a shelf in some studio. So I was aware of him in that regard but there was nothing to see, movie wise, to see what this guy’s style was all about.

Let me tell you this. He’s good. Klevberg knows his stuff and does a good job directing here. So much that if he’s not back for a sequel I’d be disappointed. The mood, the pace and the look of the film just fit the vibe of this franchise. Least I felt like it did.

I can’t finish up without mentioning the score, composed by The Walking Dead’s Bear McCreary, which uses actual toy instruments. It is boss. Oh and for the hardcore horror nuts wondering yes the film is gory. I was surprised it was full of blood. I assumed this whole film would be some cheap cash grab PG13 crap but I am happy to say it’s anything but. Any negatives? Nope. Not really. There’s this one death I didn’t care for, ’cause I liked that character, but ya know when you got a killer doll running around people are going to end up that way, as in proper dead ya know what I mean?

If you like the original Child’s Play flicks then give this remake a shot. It’s not too bad at all. In fact it’s rather good.

 

We’ve been down the disappointing Terminator sequel route time and time again post the classic T2: Judgement Day. So much so that when I saw the mixed reaction to the recent Terminator: Dark Fate trailer I got it. I could see where fans were coming from but I do not share their fear. The reason I don’t is because I trust the talent behind this film. Tim Miller (Deadpool) directs and he’s boss. Deadpool, forget about it being a great comic book movie, is a lean and brilliantly directed action movie.

Miller’s razor sharp focus on action and character is a great match for a franchise like Terminator. Then there’s Jim Cameron back on story duty, having had a hand in coming up with the film’s main narrative and being the most hands on with the development of the film since his original movies.  Yet it is Linda Hamilton who is the main draw here for many fans and rightly so. The folks behind Dark Fate know this too. Sarah Connor is front and centre on the film’s poster (Arnie is nowhere in sight) and the trailer focuses a lot on the fact that Sarah is back and kicking cyborg ass.

The footage looks good. Yea some of the effects look a bit …not awesome but so what? The film’s still a while away and they have time to work on some CGI and word is the film will will use a lot of practical effects. So let’s see how it all plays out first in regards to all that. The reason why the original Terminator has lasted the test of time is not a big secret. It’s due to the fact the film knows what it is and is made well. It’s a chase movie mixed up with a series of action beats and there’s no fat whatsoever on the flick. Miller knows this and that’s what his film, Cameron going as far to call this the true sequel to his two legacy movies, looks to be.

Sure, Dark Fate probably won’t reinvent the wheel but what it could do is offer a kick arse Terminator movie, which isn’t bogged down by a needlessly complicated plot and reminds fans why they fell in love with this world in the first place. 

I like this trailer and I have a good feeling about this movie. I hope you do too. We don’t have long to wait. Terminator: Dark Fate hits screens this November.

 

 

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Last October Blumhouse Productions Halloween exceeded expectations at the box office with a tremendous opening and went on to make some serious bank. A sequel was a no brainer and so we’re getting one.

According to sources close to the film (major props to Collider for getting the scoop on this too) the new film is set to start shooting this fall and will release Halloween 2020.

The survivors from last years movie are expected to return but according to Collider no deals with the talent have been set yet. That kind of stuff is pretty normal though and I’d wager the core cast will be back. More so when you consider everyone looked to have a great time making the last movie and all involved seem to be on really good terms. I just can’t see anyone throwing a wrench into contract stuff.

Last night Jason Blum, he who is the grand master of Blumhouse, downplayed the news in a playful tweet. Whether that’s down to the fact the news broke earlier then he would have liked or if there’s more to it we’ll have to wait and see but Collider, the whole team over there, are usually pretty on point with their inside info. So big thanks to them for breaking the story.

My take on this news is guarded excitement. SPOILERS from now on until the end of this paragraph. Last years Halloween felt like a tight cap to the series. The whole point of the retcon was to bring back Curtis as Laurie Strode in order to have her front and centre once more. If they plan on bringing her back yet again history would suggest she probably won’ make it until the end of the film. Which leads me to ask what the point was of changing everything around and bringing her back? Then again…I guess it will all come down to her arc and how it is executed. I don’t want to see her go down like in Resurrection know what I mean? Surely nobody wants that?

David Gordon Green and Danny McBride are said to be back in directing and writing duties once again. That’s a great boost in confidence in my eyes because Green nor McBride need this sequel so the fact both are seemingly excited to be back and have come up with the story bodes well.

The untitled Halloween movie should hit cinema screens October next year.