The Unseen Blog
The Hobbit : The Desolation of Smaug (Spoiler Free Review)

I loved the first Hobbit movie, something that apparently sets me apart from the majority of people.  It has problems, that much I can admit.  The movie spends far too long getting started, and it just sort of ends without having accomplished what seems like a whole lot for an almost 3 hour movie.  I still loved every minute of it, and that might be a bit of my love of the book influencing my thoughts.

However, The Desolation of Smaug is undeniably a great movie.

Desolation of Smaug starts us off with a bit of a flashback, showing how Gandalf has always been kind of a trouble maker, as he is the one who sets Thorin on his little quest.  It’s not the best way to start the movie, as we don’t learn anything we really NEED to know, but the movie kicks off right after that, and it never slows down nearly as much as the original did.

The biggest thing this movie gets right is momentum.  It builds momentum at a very deliberate pace, takes breaks when it needs to, but never lingers too long before kicking things back up to speed.  We go from getting lost in a forest, to spider battles.  Slows back down with elves being assholes, then picks back up for the barrel ride down the river.  Slows down a bit, then picks back up.  That’s pretty much the pace the movie sets, and it works perfect.  You never get bored, and you never feel overwhelmed by what’s happening on screen.

All of the actors are great, as they were in the first, but the majority of the dwarves are kind of shoved into the background.  We see a little bit of Thorin, but it’s mostly just him being kind of an asshole towards Bilbo, even though it seemed like they connected in the first film.  Kili actually gets the most development of the dwarves, as he gets to develop a bit of a romance with the new elf character Tauriel.  Their relationship actually builds pretty naturally, as Tauriel never feels quite at home in Mirkwood, as she is a lower class of elf, and is treated as such by those in charge.  There’s a very touching scene towards the end involving these two that actually managed to bring a tear to my eye.

The highlight of the movie is Smaug, played brilliantly by Benedict Cumberbatch.  Smaug looks absolutely fantastic, and is everything I imagined when I read the book.  Cumberbatch is amazing, and does a great job of making Smaug not just a big physical threat, but also a very intelligent foe for Bilbo and the dwarves to clash with.  Every line of dialogue from Smaug had me smiling from ear to ear from how perfect it was, but also had me in fear of the power you can just feel brimming beneath the surface.

The character of Bard, played by Luke Evans, is kind of just meh to me.  Evans does a great job of playing Bard, descendant of the king who failed to kill Smaug before, but the character just feels rather bland.  It could just be he wasn’t given enough time or room on screen to really stretch and develop, but the end result is just a little boring.

Overall, Desolation of Smaug is another great romp through Middle Earth, with more of what made the first Hobbit film great and less of what made the first feel so slow.  The run-time seems to fly by, and you leave the theater wanting to see more of Smaug mostly, but also wouldn’t mind finding out what happens with those dwarves and that oh-so-loveable hobbit, Bilbo Baggins.

I need more blogs to follow.

fennec-kitsune:

If you have a~~

  • My Little Pony
  • Adventure Time
  • Anime
  • Game of Thrones
  • Pagan
  • Harry Potter
  • Anime
  • Fire Emblem
  • Legend of Zelda
  • Pokemon
  • Anything NERDY AND AWESOME

~~blog,
Please reblog this post and I will follow you.

More Thoughts on Spider-Man in General

I realized I have nothing in common with the people on the comics subreddit. Not only do they apparently hate the idea of Paul Giamatti playing a villain (IT’S PAUL FUCKING GIAMATTI! The man does no wrong), but they are all calling for a Venom stand-alone film with ASM3 being Venom and Carnage.

Anyone who is a fan of Spidey, back me up on this:

Venom is sub-par the majority of the time, and tolerable at best, but definitely doesn’t deserve his own fuckin’ movie. Carnage, however, is a fucking trainwreck of a character. His whole design consisted of “Venom was already pretty McFarlane, but can we out-McFarlane Venom? LET’S MAKE HIM RED AND A SERIAL KILLER! WOOO SO FUCKING METAL”.

I love Spider-man, but some of his villains are so stupid, and these are the ones apparently everyone else loves and wants to see in a movie.

Quick note about Giamatti as Rhino in ASM2

I don’t understand why everyone is freaking out about every Amazing Spider-Man 2 detail that comes out. Yes, I’m skeptical (never cared for Electro as a villain), but I’m willing to wait until I see something in motion to judge it. We get one picture of Giamatti as Rhino and everyone loses their collective shit.


It’s PAUL GIAMATTI, PLAYING A SUPERVILLAIN. What more could you ask for?

Bioshock Infinite Review

I have problems with Bioshock Infinite.  There are some story elements I’m not quite sure how to feel about, portions of the gameplay feel out of place and forced, and I’m not sure how much of an impact it has on what is a truly excellent game.

I’m not going to discuss the story in much detail, as it truly is the high point of the game.  You play as Booker DeWitt, a man who has been tasked with going to the floating utopia of Columbia and finding a girl named Elizabeth. Bringing her back will settle your debt, so you set off for Columbia.  Things don’t go so smoothly, of course, and you’re tasked with trying to get Elizabeth out, one way or another.

The story, like in the previous Bioshock games, reveals itself to you mostly through environment clues and audio logs, so if you really want to delve into the world of Columbia, you’re going to have to do a bit of work.  It’s so rewarding, however, whenever you uncover a particularly revealing audio log or key location that shows just a bit more history to this incredibly interesting setting.

The gameplay, however, just doesn’t feel like it fits.  It’s a solid shooter, don’t get me wrong.  It controls very well, and I never felt like I was under or over powered.  However, I don’t know that this game really benefits from being a traditional first-person shooter.  The story certainly gives you enemies that need to be moved from your path in order for you to continue, but the whole game feels like a thin shell of a shooter wrapped around an unfinished adventure game.  If you were to remove the shooting elements, or at least tone them back to key moments, I think the game would have been the better for it.  I can only speculate, but I think it being both a modern game and a Bioshock game meant they felt it had to be a first-person shooter (or risk losing the casual audience).  If so, they should have just dropped the Bioshock name and made this its own thing.

One can’t help but draw comparisons between this and the previous Bioshock games, and it makes me realize how great the original is and how this really wants to be that game in so many ways, but falls flat on a gameplay perspective.  In the original, you have the Big Daddy, a terrifying creature you don’t know a lot about, but you feel how intimidating they are as soon as they lumber on-screen.  In Infinite, the parallel character is the Handyman, a large part-man part-machine sort of creature who serves as a literal handy man in Columbia.  It’s obvious these are the Big Daddies of the Sky, but the feeling just isn’t the same. When you finally go up against a Handyman, it doesn’t have the same feeling as when you finally have to fight a Big Daddy for the first time.  Each time you fight a Handyman, you just end up shooting it a bunch and throwing Vigor’s (this games Plasmids) at it until it dies.  No terror, no strategy, just shooting.

Then we have Zachary Comstock, this games antagonist, and Columbia’s version of Andrew Ryan.  A very religious and charismatic leader, he calls himself a prophet and leader of the people of Columbia. You feel his presence early on, and the game does a fantastic job in the beginning of making sure you know this is his city, and these are his people.  However, the game seems to kind of forget about him after a while and expects us to just remember that he’s there and evil without him really doing much.  He’s a great character, otherwise, and the game does give you a good look into his history through audio logs and other story elements.

One of the high points of the game has to be the character of Elizabeth.  She’s such a strong, independent female character that doesn’t fit into any stereotype, and it’s refreshing.  She’s just so well written and developed.  As soon as she starts following you around, I was so worried this was going to turn into a Resident Evil 4 situation, where I’m forced to protect this helpless character who’s only purpose is to die while I’m trying to play.  Then, on screen pops one of the greatest messages I’ve seen in a video game.  It says something to the effect of “You don’t need to protect Elizabeth, she can defend herself”, and it was correct.  Yeah, from a gameplay perspective it’s just her being invincible and the enemies don’t target her, but seeing her duck around corners during firefights and stay out of the line of fire just feels so nice.

Visually, this game is astounding.  The colors are so varied and brilliant, the city of Columbia is a visual marvel, and I loved exploring around this world.  Until I played this (and recently, Far Cry 3), I never really realized how dark and dull games had gotten.  It’s so refreshing to see a game remember that there are a ton of colors out there, and it isn’t afraid to use all of them.  I hope this is a trend that more games will follow, because I’m tired of looking at dingy shades of brown and dull.

Overall, this game sits in a weird place for me.  I loved the game.  I loved playing it all the way through.  There was never a moment where I felt like I had to force myself to keep playing.  I wanted to experience more of this world.  I wanted to explore Columbia.  However, the more I sit and think about the overall story and experience, I’m not sure what to think of the game.  It truly is an amazing experience, one I think everyone should have.  I just can’t help but feel it could have been so much more.  I like to think that there’s an alternate universe out there, where this game wasn’t Bioshock Infinite, but maybe just Infinite, or Columbia Infinite.  It isn’t a typical first-person shooter, but more of an adventure game.  That game from that world, would be one of my favorite games of all time, one that would set the bar for storytelling in games for years.

As for our universe?  Our version of Columbia?  I’m still not sure.

Reblog if its okay to ask you creepy anon questions.
Upcoming Reviews

It’s been a while since I really felt like writing anything, but there’s a few reviews I have planned.

John Dies at the End - I’ll be seeing this movie here in the next few days, and I know I’ll want to do a review of that.

Borderlands 2, WWE ‘13, etc - I want to do more video game stuff, so I’ll try to review a few of the new-ish PS3 games I have.

Other than that, I’ll just try to update more often.

The Hobbit Review (Spoiler-Free)

Tolkien.  When you think of a fantasy setting, chances are a large portion of what you imagine is based on stuff Tolkien wrote.  While The Lord of the Rings gained a huge amount of popularity thanks to the Peter Jackson film trilogy, a large number of people (myself included) were more excited about the inevitable Hobbit film.

The bottom line is that The Hobbit is a better story than The Lord of the Rings.  The Hobbit is a much better condensed story, and much more light-hearted in nature. It’s a fun fantasy romp through Middle-Earth.

So, we come to the film adaptation.  I was growing less excited for this movie as time went on.  When I heard it was being stretched into 2 movies, I was a little concerned, but not too bad.  If they expanded on some content in the book, they could manage to fill 2 movies without much trouble.  Then I heard that it was actually going to be 3 movies, and I was worried.  Peter Jackson was becoming too attached to the world of Middle-Earth, and didn’t want to leave.  Understandable, but worrying.

Thankfully, I had nothing to worry about.  The movie is fantastic.  Let’s just get that out of the way.  I loved every moment of this movie, and I can’t wait for the next one.

The movie opens with Ian Holm as old Bilbo Baggins, just prior to the events of Fellowship of the Ring, as he begins writing about his adventures so Frodo will know the true story.  It’s fantastic to see him and Frodo again, even if we only see them for a short time.

Before long, we’re on the adventure with Martin Freeman as Bilbo, who is absolutely perfect.  He does an amazing job of playing a hobbit who wants so hard to fight against his adventurous nature and has convinced himself all he wants is to sit at home and live a boring, but safe, life in The Shire. 

The dwarves are surprisingly well-fleshed out, considering how many of them there are.  You may not have memorized all their names by the end of the movie, but you know all of their personalities and characters really well.  The scene in the beginning of the movie where we are introduced to the dwarves over a rather hectic supper is easily one of the stand-out scenes of the movie, complete with semi-drunken dwarven singing.

The movie exists in a strange place, though.  Even though The Hobbit was written first, and takes place before The Lord of the Rings, you really won’t get the most out of this movie unless you’ve seen the previous movies.  There are quite a few scenes that, if you know the story, are extremely important and foreshadowing.  If you don’t know the story, though, these scenes might be a bit confusing.  Two scenes come to mind in particular, involving the first sight of a ring and a meeting between Gandalf, Elrond, Galadriel, and Saruman.  Both scenes really only benefit those who are familiar with the story of Lord of the Rings.

Also, the movie feels strangely paced at times.  The movie spends an inordinate amount of time getting the story started, but once it does, it really takes off running, only to skid to a halt for a while before taking off again.  Actually, there seems to be an inordinate amount of running in this film in general.  If The Lord of the Rings trilogy could be called The Long Walk, The Hobbit could easily be The Run Like Hell.

However, the criticisms I have for this movie are so very small.  They only served as minor distractions at best, and I didn’t really notice them until after the movie was over.  I just enjoyed the hell out of this movie.  I felt like a kid again, reading The Hobbit for the first time and realizing what a fantasy world really could offer me.

The Hobbit is a tremendous film.  A great start to what is hopefully a great trilogy. It’s just great to be back in Middle-Earth, and I couldn’t think of a better guide than Martin Freeman, Sir Ian McKellen, and Peter Jackson.

Classic Movie Review : The Shining

Stanley Kubrick was a genius film-maker who I wish would have been allowed to make movies until the end of time, or shortly past that so he could make a final movie ABOUT the end of time.  He was also a sadistic asshole, forcing actors to do over 100 takes, forever searching for the perfect take.  Lots of people hated him, but damn if he didn’t get the job done.

The Shining is one of Kubrick’s most well-known films, and is a very good film.  However, it does suffer from a few problems.  Since Kubrick is dead, I feel safe enough to point a few of these out.

The Shining is the story of Jack Torrance, played oh-so-brilliantly by Jack Nicholson, who takes the job of winter caretaker of the Overlook Hotel, in the hopes that the solitude will allow him to work on his writing.  He takes his wife, Wendy, and son, Danny, up to the hotel with him.  Strange things happen, Jack goes a little crazy, and then even stranger things happen.

Nicholson is the best part of this movie.  He plays the part of a man slowly going mad absolutely perfectly.  There’s never a single moment where you can clearly tell he is going insane.  Instead, it’s a very slow transition from recovered alcoholic and family man to giving drink orders to an imaginary bartender and wielding an axe in a hedge maze.  You don’t immediately realize you are watching a man slowly spiral into madness, and by the time you do, there’s nothing that can be done to stop it.

However, the rest of the cast leaves something to be desired.  Shelly Duvall is absolutely clueless throughout the entire movie.  She’s never on top of anything that’s going on, and the fact that her and Danny make it out alive is nothing short of a miracle.  Danny himself is a sort of nothing character, his only role being that of the helpless victim.  He is present in some of the films more memorable scenes, but he himself does nothing to add to the scene.  More often than not, he is simply there.

As an adaptation, though, Kubrick made all the right choices.  He chose to downplay the supernatural elements of the original Stephen King story, in order to make a more realistic and psychological thriller, rather than the more mystical and supernatural thriller that King wrote.  The use of the eponymous “shining” was limited to a few key scenes, and the film is stronger for it.  Instead, Kubrick opts for a more mysterious approach to the goings-on at the hotel, letting the mind of the viewer fill in the blanks as to what is actually happening.

Also, Kubrick avoids the usual heavy-handed messages that plague the majority of King’s stories.  Jack’s alcoholism, while an important plot point, is largely downplayed in the film, whereas in the original story, it plays a huge part in Jack’s mental deterioration.  We’re left with a much more real Jack Torrance, whose descent into insanity feels less like an after-school special and more like the final moments of a disturbed individual.

The Shining still stands today as one of Kubrick’s best films, and easily one of the greatest horror films of all-time.  It’s not as thought-provoking as some of Kubrick’s other movies, but there’s more than enough substance to give you something to look for on repeat viewings.

That is, assuming you make it through another viewing without having to call over a friend to watch it with you.

Wendy? Darling? Light, of my life. I’m not gonna hurt ya. You didn’t let me finish my sentence. I said, I’m not gonna hurt ya. I’m just going to bash your brains in. Gonna bash ‘em right the fuck in!” 

Classic Movie Review : Young Frankenstein

I’ve decided to start reviewing some classic movies.  Partially so I can keep writing reviews whenever I feel like it, and mostly because I love talking about movies in general.  Seeing as it’s October, let’s do some horror movies!

Young Frankenstein.  It’s Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder, the perfect combination that seemed to churn out gold every time.  This time they tackle the classic tale of Frankenstein, with a Brooks twist.

Gene Wilder plays the grandson of the classic film’s Victor Frankenstein.  He inherits his family estate, and heads there.  He meets his handy servant named Igor (played brilliantly by Marty Feldman), his lovely assistant Inga, and the strange housekeeper Frau Blucher (*horse whinny, lightning*).  He eventually decides to search for, and continue, his grandfathers controversial research.  It follows the classic tale pretty closely, with some expected Brooks twists.

Now, this movie is a classic.  There’s no doubt about that.  It deserves the recognition it gets.  The movie is a perfect homage to horror movies of old, without forgetting that it still has to stand on its own as a great movie as well.  The comedy is sharp and witty, and never fails to make me laugh.  Marty Feldman is definitely the best part of the movie for me.  Almost every line out of his mouth in that movie is quotable, and just thinking about his scenes makes me smile.  Gene Wilder plays the perfect straight man, funny without trying to be and is the perfect foil to the lovable oaf that is Igor.

However, the movie isn’t without faults.  There are big sections of the movie that move along at a slow, painful pace, all without anything worth noting happening.  The film tries to stay true to the original, so large portions of the film are silent with no music or dialogue.  Sometimes they use these portions well by inserting a clever sight gag, and sometimes they are used for necessary plot development.  However, it feels like many times, the scenes are just silent for too long, and they come off as awkward and boring.

The assistant Inga exists almost purely as a sex object for Frankenstein to vie for, and isn’t given anything particularly interesting to do as a character.  The only other thing she accomplishes is to give Frederick a reason to verbally explain something that’s happening.

The faults are few and far between, however. The movie is hilarious almost from start to finish, and is such a great homage to the Frankenstein of old (complete with actual set props used in the original).  Funny, smart, and very memorable, Young Frankenstein is sure to stand the test of time.

"Damn your eyes!"

"Too late."