Tuesday, March 5, 2013
500th Post Celebration: Greatest and Worst Things I've Reviewed
Lately, I think this blog has actually hit a really good place, at least for me. I feel a bit disappointed in myself that I don't have more video game reviews, but honestly, I never quite figured out how to make those posts into more than just a rant. My movie reviews have only been getting better, and I really love this stuff I'm doing with old movies, like the Batman Retrospective and the Giant Monster series. Once I'm done with the giant monster stuff*, I don't think those kinds of reviews are going to stop. Maybe once I finish this current series I'll move onto Space Opera. At some point during my time writing this blog I became the most obsessive lovers of cinema I know, to the point that my friends now have to challenge themselves to name a movie I haven't seen, and I force people I hardly know to watch "The Blob" with me. Yeah, I don't quite get as many readers as I would like, but I like to think that what readers I have are satisfied with the choices I make in topics, and generally aren't too annoyed with the endless typos and the sentence or two that meanders run-on for six dozen words.
So to celebrate the now-long history of Planet Blue, I'm just going to do a very quick list of all my favorite topics I've had a chance to talk about. These would be the very best and unfortunately very worst Movies and Video Games games that I've reviewed here on this blog. My sidebar tells me I've written 211 posts on movies and 81 posts on video games, and that's not an inconsiderable body of work for somebody who just does this as a hobby. Writing is something I don't think I'm going to be able to stop, my fingers flow on the keyboard at the very speed my brain comes up with this narration. Its been a great 500 posts, and here's to the day when I get to see 100:
These lists are not in any kind of order, I just threw them together real quick. There are links if you want to read the reviews again. Generally if its on this list, it means that its something I think is either so well-made and special that it deserves to survive all of history as a piece of art showing the very brilliance of our species. Or its something so horribly awful that its worth seeing to remember that we humans are infallible - yet.
== Best Movies I've Reviewed ==
1. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World - Years later I can still quote this movie, and I recently read the entire comic series in a Barnes & Noble in a single afternoon. Let me tell you, its almost frightening how well Bryan Lee O'Malley captures the confusion and difficulties of being a young adult in the 21st century. And it does hurt that its such a colorful and fun movie that you can just watch a million times.
2. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time - This might be the best review I've ever written, or at least the most poignant. When I'm sitting at my computer screen for two hours pondering what possible deeper meaning I can extrapolate out of "The Mysterians", this review remains my guiding light toward my very best. Also the movie, an anime film from 2006 about adolescent romance with a SciFi twist, isn't bad either.
3. Black Swan - Easily the best horror film I've seen in all these four years, since its actually legitimately frightening but also exquisitely beautiful. Reality and fantasy are merged toward in the final scene, when you cannot be sure if the protagonist has lost her mind or if she is really starting to mutate into some ascendant creature of music and dance. And really, I don't care what the truth is, all I see is a fantastic movie.
4. Toy Story 3 - I have not been able to bring myself to watch this movie again since I first saw it in 2010. There aren't many movies that have been to bring me to just weep like a baby, and it wasn't even a sad moment, it was actually the happy scene of Andy giving away his toys and playing with the little girl, passing on his childhood to the next generation. Hell, I get weepy-eyed just thinking about it. Truly this is Pixar's masterpiece, and unfortunately, it doesn't look like they're going to be topping it any time soon.
5. Drive - I suspect everything about "Drive" can be understood simply with Ryan Gosling's jacket in this movie. And I don't mean it just because its a super stylish jacket that fits with the entire artistic scheme of the film, but rather the symbolism of the scorpion on the back. Ryan Gosling, I think, isn't really even a human, he only acts like one. There is tenderness within one, one that's difficult to bring out, but also a layer of horrific darkness and uncompromising cruelty. This movie is pure fashion.
6. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy - The more I think on it, the more I've become certain that "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" actually was the best movie to be made in 2011, and not "Drive". I've seen this movie twice since I first reviewed it, and every time I see it I enjoy it more and realize how profound it actually is. And the worst part it, I'm not even sure what it is about this movie that I find myself so fascinated by. Its slow, its a bit confusing, its about old English people mostly, and yet it has a dramatic drive and story excitement that no James Bond could ever hope to top. There's an understated power in the sad performances, but a constant drive to keep watching as the mystery enfolds. "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy", I hope, will become a classic a few years as real film scholars go back and see the artistry that I've come to love.
7. The Raid: Redemption - Easiest movie to explain ever: cops go in a building, cops kick ass for forty minutes, many fewer cops come back. I fucking love this movie, and so should the rest of the world. If you don't, you're a pussy.
8. Batman Returns - My favorite Batman movie, to this day. I don't think any other superhero movie has ever quite captured the absurd poetry of Tim Burton's Batman films, and "Batman Returns" is that director's masterpiece. I love this movie more than any other person alive. If you want to see a romantic tragedy involving the Dark Knight as he battles strange grotesques in a Gothic Christmas nightmare, "Batman Returns" is your movie.
9. King Kong - I didn't include this one just because its the granddaddy of a particular genre of movies that I love enough to devote an entire 100-part series to. I don't give movies credit just because they inspired other movies, I judge them all equally as to how much I enjoy them right now. And "King Kong" is really a masterpiece of fantasy adventure. I'm even shocked as to how much I enjoyed this one. Really, no other giant monster movie ever quite recreated the formula and charm of "King Kong", and its pretty much impossible. This is a completely classic movie.
== Worst Movies I've Reviewed ==
1. Green Lantern - If you want to see a movie fail from every stage: from art design, to directing, to casting, to acting, to special effects, to pacing, and to even scripting, "Green Lantern" is that movie. I had an emotional breakdown watching this film, it was that bad.
2. The Last Airbender - Over two hours of confusing exposition and plot points and more confusing exposition and more plot points all jammed together into the biggest mess of a script I've ever seen.
3. The Tree of Life - Terry Malice films a pretty scene... for over two hours straight while this photography exercise pretends to be a movie.
4. Eureka Seven: The Movie - Sorry, I was wrong before when I said "The Last Airbender" was the biggest mess of a script I've ever seen. "The Last Airbender" actually makes sense compared to the lazy recycled crap that "Eureka Seven: The Movie" turned out to be. Which is funny since its based off of one of my favorite anime series ever. The only positive I have to say about this one? "Eureka Seven: Ao" was worse**.
5. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter - Somehow somebody compiled together all the lamest trends in modern filmmaking and put it together into one singular horrifically boring nightmare of a film. This is a movie that doesn't make you laugh or cry, it just makes you want to turn it off.
== Best Video Games I've Reviewed ==
1. Skies of Arcadia - This is an old RPG that originally came out on the Dreamcast but I played the Gamecube port. It isn't very graphically impressive, but it has the perfect formula of what I've out of an RPG: fast and fun gameplay, a plot that's entertaining but not overbearing, and a sense of fun and exploration.
2. Sin and Punishment 2: Star Successor - I friggin' love light gun shooting games, and this is one of the best. Easily the most fun game I've played in years, and by far the best game on the Wii. It isn't complex, its story makes no sense, but its all nothing but pure entertaining joy.
3. Dragon Quest VIII - This is easily the best Dragon Quest game I've played, and that remarkable since that is a series of some of the best RPGs ever. This is, sadly, the only one that was in full 3D and with full voice acting, giving that series an excellent epic scale that Square Enix has been too stupid to replicate since. However, "Dragon Quest VIII" is still one of the best RPGs to ever exist, and should not be missed for any reason. I love Dragon Quest's cartoony sense of humor and lighthearted entertainment, and this one just gets it right.
4. Batman Arkham City - Its a game WHERE YOU PLAY AS BATMAN. Need I say more? That's it, you play as Batman, doing all the Batman silent ninja fighting stuff, looking for clues, fighting the great comic rogues gallery. I love this game to death.
5. Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together - Easily the most expansive and involving tactical RPGs I've had the pleasure to experience. This game creates a full medieval war, with you as a conquering commander leading your forces to victory. Yasumi Matsuno is the best video game writer, bar none, and this is one of his masterpieces. Its involving, its greatly strategic, and it actually gives some interesting and complex moral choices to its player, and then gives you the opportunity to play out those choices.
== Worst Video Games I've Reviewed ==
1. Dissidia Final Fantasy - Yeah, its a fighting game, and apparently fighting games aren't supposed to have good stories. But that's no goddamn excuse when you're dealing with the heritage of the best RPG series in history, with the backing of dozens of talented writings and a mythology of at least half a dozen truly fantastic games. Then you ruin all that by making a crappy fanservice laden story that makes no sense and exists only to frustrate players and justify endless sequels. Also its a fighting game on the PSP! Where the hell am I supposed to find another human to play against? What were they thinking?? I wrote an entire epic, twelve posts, devoted to tearing this game down, and I still think I held back.
2. Metroid Other M - If Nintendo decided one day that they were just tired of making Metroid games and wanted to make a game with the singular objective of tearing that series down and killing its fanbase for all time, it would have ended up less insulting and more faithful to the established characters than "Metroid Other M". Let's turn Samus into a sobbing, weak, emotionally-dependent woman, because that's what we've all wanted this whole time, right?
3. Final Fantasy XIII-2 - What does it say about the modern state of the Final Fantasy series that two out of the three worst video games I played in the last three years are Final Fantasy games? "Final Fantasy XIII-2" was a game that existed for no reason other than to parasite itself off the "success" of "Final Fantasy XIII", and then didn't even the decency to conclude that rather unfortunate chapter in Final Fantasy history. No, there has to be a "Final Fantasy XIII-3" now, because this shitty game was designed mainly to sell DLC and have a non-conclusive ending to screw gamers out of another fifty bucks. Well, too bad, I'm not buying that next game. NEVER. Screw you, Square Enix. I'll buy one of your games when you actually make something worth playing.
And now, just so that this post doesn't end on a bitter note, here's a picture of Girl-Blue from my Pokemon Soul Silver recaps, with her two favorite Pokemon:
Here's to the next 500 posts.
* Right now I only have fourteen reviews done out of a currently planned 109. There are a lot of goddamn Godzilla, Gamera, and other movies to cover.
** "Eureka Seven: Ao" gets a special note as being the single worst thing I've ever reviewed on this blog. That is the worst piece of shit ever. BONES, you guys should just stop... Just stop. Don't make anime anymore, "Eureka Seven: Ao" is unforgivable.