Holiday Happenings

Well I’m back from the holidays and the internet black hole that is my hometown (which I don’t mind, it’s nice to unplug now and then).  So random notes from the holiday.

  • King of Tokyo is a really fun game.
  • Back in the early days of computer animation, there was a generic turd of a movie put out called “Barnyard”.  I immediately pitched a fit at the trailers since it showed every bovine in the film – whether they were supposed to be male or female – as having udders.  While channel surfing, my parents happened upon a showing of that movie.  Since both of them had raised cattle (and milked them) in their youth, they were even more baffled by it.  It was a nice bonding moment for us over yuppie, cityfolk stupidity.
  • Played a beta of Blizzard’s “Hearthstone” on a friend’s account.  It’s pretty much a digital version of the former WoW:TCG only blander (somehow).  It was funny to hear my buddy try and coach me on the game which boiled down to the basic tactics any experienced TCG player is so familiar with, we see them in our sleep.  It is rather annoying that the game seems to have learned nothing from the experience of the original card version.  I was hoping they would already have ideas on balanced cards and themes and such.  I said it before and I’ll say it again: this really looks like a dud for Blizzard.  Although I would like to see a Magic:TG play variant come about from the Hearthstone style.
  • Saw both Catching Fire (aka Hunger Games 2) and Thor: the Dark World (thor 2) in one day.
    • Thor2 was just a big… meh.  At this point many of these Marvel movies are starting to feel like… television episodes. (aka Star Trek: TNG movie syndrome)  Ironically it has a lot of feel similar to current comic books especially as they relate to crossovers.  Namely that there’s not so much a story being told as much as just building up to another crossover.  The biggest problem with both Thor movies is that they can’t decide what ‘flavor’ they want to be.  The two best parts of this movie (not unlike the best parts in the 1st) are when Thor has to adapt to our world (like riding the subway) and the big mid-movie action sequence of the attack on Asgard.  Does the movie want to be about this strange being adapting to our world?  Any time Thor could spend showing us that is instead taken up by home shenanigans.  Does the movie want to be about epic, space-operatic goings on?  Well let’s keep interrupting all that for earth shenanigans.  They need to just pick a theme they want to do and commit to it.  It seems like they keep wanting Thor to be this “being of two worlds” thing but why?  Because he spent an afternoon on Earth and fought in New York?  That’s not enough, stop making these things feel like assembly line manufactures.  Which is a shame because I think Chris Hemsworth has the skill & charm to carry a narrative on his own (without Loki) but so far he hasn’t had any material to let him do so.  Score: 2/5
    • Hunger Games 2 (HG2) was… better, at least compared to its first one.  I will commend it that the narrative this time took every fault I had with the first one and turned it into a strength (with the exception of STILL leaving out religion – though that’s less of a problematic gap in this one).  If you think of the first movie as the “rise” or “origin” of Katniss, this one would the be rise of her status as a symbol in the eyes of the nation.  A lot of my objections to this one are down to personal taste as I was more interested in the political maneuverings than the games proper and thought the movie started dragging once the game actually began.  This is a movie of great moments, but not really a great story.  For instance: at one point a young girl tells Katniss that she wants to be just like her and volunteer for the games someday.  Jennifer Lawrence does a great job emoting just how devastating this is to the character which is good because the story doesn’t.  It’s hard to tell whether anything she does later results from this, or one of the other dozen things which happen to her (like watching the clothes designer get beaten).  Another great moment is when Peeta goes “off script” and offers a portion of his & Katniss’s winnings to the families of District 11’s previous tributes.  Ok, a great moment and then… what?  Does this make him more appealing to Katniss?  To the wider public?  What?  Score: 4/5.
      I will give the movie this, though.  It is a great parable of the cycle of violence and repression that Dr Chris Bullard described here:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n61YkALuP0k

Hope everyone enjoyed their thanksgiving.  I know I’m thankful for both of my faithful readers.  Now let’s get caught up on Supernatural…

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