Saturday, December 31, 2011

Ranking the Final Destination movies.

I recently finished watching the Final Destination series. This is my ranking from worst to best. Updated as the sequels come (I think 6 and 7 are shooting back-to-back).

#5 The Final Destination. Let's get one thing straight here before we begin, I don't flat out HATE any of these movies. They are entertaining in their own way and of someone asked me to marathon these with them, I would not refuse. That aside, I am confident that the 4th installment is the worst. it has virtually none of the freshness that made the original film likable. It was almost like it was trying to take itself too seriously. At least, that's the impression I got with the protagonist. He was not as likable as the rest of them. They didn't try to make the plot fresh at all. This series did have sequels that attempted that. It was still entertaining enough, but definitely the weakest. Plus it doesn't have Tony Todd in it like the other 4 did.

4. Final Destination 3. By this point in the series, everybody knows full well what will happen and when it will happen. By the 3rd installment, it is merely about the kills instead of a good story (something I feel that the first two excelled at). In an effort to try to make the film interesting, this one builds up the kills too much for them to be really interesting and then prolongs a couple of them to the point where we don't care (tanning salon anyone?) It is still an entertaining film, but weak.

#3 Final Destination 5 I know this may be surprising because not only did it get the highest reviews of the entire series, but it also was the only of the FD series to achieve a fresh overall rating from Rotten Tomatoes. And I do agree that it was most certainly an improvement over 3 and 4. It still focuses mostly on how much more violent the kills can be from the previous installments than it does on telling the audience a good story. I wouldn't mind this so much but I believe that the first two did focus on the story more than the kills. However, this one did focus on the characters and the story more than the other two. Heck, I even started to care about some of them despite knowing full well when they were going down. It manages to actually get some good thrills in there to boot. It is a good movie. Killer (excuse the pun) ending too.

#2. Final Destination 2 I'll be honest, this one was pretty close. I did enjoy this one almost as much as I did the first one. It is at that point in the series where they manage to almost perfectly balance the story as well as the cool kills. Plus it has actual character complexity for a few of them, something beyond "Here is this character, he/she is/ is not worried about Death getting them, he/she dies a gruesome death." I highly appreciate that. they also manage some cool tie-ins with the original film that make the story even better. P.S. do any of you think of the song "You Wouldn't Know" by Hellyeah every time you think of this movie or vice-versa? Particularly regarding the big crash? It is just me? Dang...

#1. Final Destination It's clever, original, and it sets out to tell a good story and succeeds. Is it still predictable? Yes. Is it subtle? Absolutely not! None of them are, least of all this one. If nothing else, it tries to make a film that is different from every single horror film made in the past 30 years (at that point). It certainly succeeds. It is a close race with the second one, but I think that this, is the best Final Destination movie.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

What would have made The Godfather Part III better (in my opinion).

For the most part, any fan of the first two Godfather films was highly disappointed with the mediocre at best 3rd film. I know I was. The story has been burned for the horrid acting from Sophia Coppola, the poor story, and the sub-par dialogue. Coppola even won herself a Razzie for the film.

Now, I do know that it was supposed to have been better. If Robert Duvall had gotten the pay that he wanted, then the movie would have been about the final showdown  (in a manner of speaking) between Tom Hagen, the last real moral person in the Corleone family, and Michael Corleone. However, that didn't happen. So, with that not an option, here is what would have made the movie better (In my opinion of course)


So, let's start with the acting. First, we start off with killing Mary Corleone (Sophia Coppola) almost instantly in the film. It would have been the catalyst that would start the film. Sophia Coppola could have still gotten a small cameo, which would have been a throwback to her cameo in the original film where she plays the baby getting baptized at the end. Michael's kids are pretty much the only thing left in his life that make life worth living for him. In the start, you would have Michael succeeding in legitimizing the family, thereby breaking off ties to the mob. He would get out of the whole thing.

Now, it would be a good time to introduce some character that would try to muscle him back in. This would bring back the most powerful crime family in New York back in the spotlight and the character hopes to get a significant amount of control of the family but Michael will have none of it. So, Mary Corleone is killed.

As I said earlier, this would be the motivation for the film and it would spare us Sophia Coppola's acting. Michael would go insane with both grief and the desire for revenge. He would be a mere shadow of the man he once was. His grief would consume him as he spent the movie looking for revenge.

His quest for revenge would eventually lead him to shut out his grieving family members and he grows farther and farther apart from them during the course of the movie.

Of course, he will get his revenge (in the signature montage of murder of course) and he will realize that he has nothing left. His remaining children have left him, the war cost him most of his businesses and money, and he is left merely as a lonely old man with nothing left to live for. He then dies, in the same way he does in the actual GIII film, totally alone, outside, in a chair, with an orange in his hand.

That is obviously the bare bones of what would make it better, but I think you get the idea. If made into an actual movie, would it improve on the 3rd? Almost anything would have to. It's just an idea.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

My review of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords

I am on the verge of beating KotOR 2 for the upteenth time and I decided that it is a good idea to review the game itself.


I highly enjoyed the first game (I would need to re-play the original before a review) and as such I had high expectations for this one as well. I can say that they were certainly met. This is a game that I would definitely suggest to anyone.

I highly enjoyed how intricate the game was. the game play is set up in such a way that it is impossibly to play the game exactly the same way twice. What kind of game you play or what kind of story you live in the game all depends on things such as gender, force alignment, companions, random items you find, and the order of the planets you travel to. the storyline is also spectacularly well done and it is very gripping. I find that I like to keep playing just to see where the story will go next. As I said before, the game is set up so that the story is never exactly the same the next time you play the game (with small details of course. The larger story is set in stone in terms of the light or dark sides). The combat in the game is a little clunky but it still is enjoyable.

The lightsabers in this game are also improved. You can get a force crystal that is attuned to you and grows stronger with you which is awesome. Plus, you get some neat colors too. No more green, blue, or red. No, in the game you can get those as well as bronze, silver, cyan, orange, yellow, and purple.

you get cool force powers in the game too. However, the force powers in the game can be both a blessing and a curse of sorts. Yes it is cool to be able to clear out an entire room with one master force lightning strike, but that makes combat a little boring and repetitive after a short while. However, there are a lot of battles that are too difficult to do without it. Also, here is another flaw of combat in the game: quick, grab a sword or an object akin to that (preferably a fake one) and try and hit your computer with it (gently so as to not break it) now hit the wall with it. Did you hit the computer and the wall? If so, congratulations! you are officially way more accurate than the characters in the game when it comes to hitting objects that don't freaking move! Seriously, if it doesn't move then your character should have no reason not to hit it especially if they are a Jedi. It gets better as the game progresses and your characters are more powerful, but until then, you have to sit there while your character misses something that a drunk man could hit blindfolded while that thing proceeds to beat the crap out of you. Of course, this isn't the case all of the time...but it happens enough times in a row that it is frustrating.

A lot of the battles are really cool and fun but I do have a problem with one of them in particular.

That is Darth Nihilus. You may recognize him from the cover of the game. Throughout the game, he is literally built up to be the single most powerful character the galaxy has ever seen. A few years before the story takes place, he wipes out an entire planet in seconds by merely existing. He has grown so powerful that he is not even human anymore. So, what does it take to defeat him?

a 20 second lightsaber duel. That's it. Nothing more. You stand there and within 20-30 seconds he is defeated. In comparison this guy

keeps recharging his health over and over again until you beat him by convincing him to let himself die. He is supposed to be way less powerful. I wanted something more from the Nihilus battle especially since that is the one I was looking forward to the most.

Also, there are many side-quests that the player can do (and it is beneficial for the player to do them) during the game. The game has it set up that at a certain point, these quests are not completable and some don't even tell you what to do next. They just sit there until you beat the game. It's a little irritating.

By far though, the best part of the game is that you can turn your companions into Jedi. Everyone except the droids and one Mandalorian. Everyone else you can turn into a Jedi (if they aren't already) and that makes the game even more interesting and the way that you go about doing it shows that the creators obviously put a lot of effort into character depth which I highly appreciate. Each companion has a great back story and I highly enjoyed that aspect of the game.

Unfortunately, some of your companions are pretty useless and if they weren't in the story, it would not make a shred of difference. Two specifically (the rest are perfectly fine)

This one named G0-T0

And this one named HK-47

They really don't serve a purpose on the game. Their back stories are really difficult to learn and neither of them are particularly powerful. Sure it is kind of fun going around trying to find pieces to rebuild HK-47 and he is kind of deadly so...he's in a gray area I suppose. But G0-T0 is flat out pointless. Once you find out what's up with him, nothing happens. Nothing changes. It is more of a "oh isn't that interesting" thing. With characters like Atton Rand

If you find out what his deal is, you can teach him to shoot lightning out of his hands until all enemies are dead. I much prefer the latter outcome of a known back story.

My last major problem with the game is armor and force powers, specifically how they relate to each other. In the game if you learn a great force power, you can't use it when you have armor on of any kind. I find this pretty inconsistent with the game. If I can beat a guy who can destroy worlds in 20 seconds I should be able to shoot lightning out of my fingers while sporting armor that would stop a missile. It is especially irritating because you find a lot of armor in the game. A LOT of awesome armor. Now, you have 10 companions and yourself in the game. Two are already Jedi, three are droids, one is a Mandalorian who can't be turned into a Jedi and the other 4 can be turned. So, the droids can't wear it, the Jedi can't wear it and as it turns out, Mandalore cannot wear it either. So, you get a ton of great armor in the game and who can wear it? Nobody can. And all of the really awesome armor comes near the end when everybody is a Jedi anyways. The game gives the player a ton of armor and no one to wear it. It is pointless.

However, without a doubt, the biggest flaw the game has, is the obvious cut content.  research into this game shows that there was a lot of content that was cut from the game tanks to rushed development. Yep, this game isn't even fully completed yet. Even if you don't look into it, you find traces of that here and there in the game in things like quests that cannot be completed, rooms that it look like you can go into but you can't, etc. Even whole storylines are cut from this game. They just wanted to release it ASAP and didn't put as much time into the game as they should have. The thing is, in hindsight, the release date doesn't matter at this point. The game the developers release is the one that we are stuck with until we stop playing. Considering the replay value of the game, that will be at least 3 or 4 times through. But now we have to wonder what could have been if the game had been released in its entirety.

Overall though, the spectacular story and great gameplay make this an excellent game and one that definitely has re-play value unlike other Star wars games such as, say, Force Unleashed (but that's for another time). Now if you'll all excuse me, I'm going to go play this game some more.

Final score: 9.0/10