Asterix & Obelix XXL: Romastered PS4 [REVIEW] | For Toutatis!

Oddly, this was the last of the Asterix XXL series to get the remaster treament, the first being XXL 2 in 2018, then we had the brand new XXL 3 in 2019, then the “romastered” version of the first game in 2020, the one we’re talking about today, to celebrate the release of a new Asterix & Obelix movie in theathers.

One of the live-action ones, but still, it’s new Asterix & Obelix material!

Originally developed for PS2, Gamecube and PC (with a GBA version that’s basically another game entirely) by defunct french studio Etranges Libellules and published by Atari Europe, this remaster was instead published by Microids (which pretty much took the place Infogrames had back then) and developed by the quite non-defunct (at the time of writing, anyway) french Osome Studios.

The plot sees the titular duo wander off of their little Gaul village to the ol’ boar hunt only to come back and find out Ceasar (yes, Julius Caius Ceasar from Caligula, exactly) has somehow managed to storm the village, capturing most people and sending them off to various distant ends of the Roman empire in order to have locked out sight and mind, hopefully for good.

But with the help of a fired roman spy, you find out that most of the imprisoned gauls most likely managed to get a piece of the map indicating their location, as Ceasar took the extra step – just in case – of ripping the map in pieces and scattering them in various locations.

Good enough as an excuse in terms of videogame logic to have Asterix & Obelix travel to various places like Egypt, Normandy, Greece and Helvetia, freeing their fellow gaul citizens and getting more pieces of the map along the way.

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Pinocchi-O-Rama #1: A Tree Of Palme/Palme No Ki (2002)

While it’s not completely unknown, i’d say A Tree Of Palme it’s quite obscure, definitely forgotten, overlooked and rarely discussed, despite being created, written and directed by respected anime veteran Takashi Nakamura, who also previously worked as a key animator for Nausicaa And The Valley Of The Wind, joined the acclaimed anime anthology of Robot Carnival in 1987, and just the next year would be animation director for a little movie called AKIRA.

It was also laboriosly made over the span of 6 years, and you can just tell by the cinematography that indeed A Tree Of Palme was treated as a big project that Nakamura wanted to cultivate as well as possible without compromises to his vision.

The story concerns the titular Palme, a puppet created by a man for his sickly wife, and upon her death the puppet becomes paralyzed by sorrow, until he accidentally stumbles upon a misterious woman (whom Palme mistakes for the man’s dead wife, Xian) being pursued, and she entrusts the puppet to deliver a certain special item to a sacred place called Tama.

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12 Days Of Dino Dicember #24: The Last Dinosaur (1977)

What, no japanese rubber monstersaurus this time? Of course no, you silly billys.

I left this one for last, because it’s not just a japanese giant monster movie.

It’s a Japanese AND American coproduction, and it’s actually just one of the many movies to come out of the Rankin Bass and Tsuburaya Productions collaboration, including The Ivory Ape and The Bermuda Depths, just to cite the adventure/monster movie stuff or adiacent ones.

But this time you might already had an inkling of familiarity with the giant t-rex body suit shown in the poster, especially if you were already familiar with another piece of Tsuburaya Productions’ prolific output, as boy it does look like the evil t-rex mastermind from Attack Of The Super Monsters, and hence from the anime-live action series Dinosaur War Izenborg.

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12 Days Of Dino Dicember #17: Dinosaurus! (1960)

Among the many dinosaurs films ailing from the 50 and ownards, Dinosaurus! comes to mind as a classic cheesefest full of b-movies cliches, incredibly outdated values and characters that would fly only in that decade, sometimes for other reasons besides being offensive.

Never mind it being from the ’60s, or the fact that Steve McQueen was intended to play the lead character (after his success as the lead teen in 1958’s The Blob, also produced by Jack Harris, and also directed by Irvin Yeaworth), but opted out to star in The Magnificent Seven, never mind, because this is such a cornucopia of old timey laughable b-movie trash that it was eventually featured on Rifftrax. It was just a match made in cheap dinosaur heaven.

Such a perfect film to lampoon and ridicule that i’m surprised it took them until 2018, and now it’s fully free on their Youtube channel, so you have no excuse now.

But for us, we’re gonna try and review it in his “riff-less” original release, it’s the season of giving after all, so let us partake in some fermented dinosaur cheese of yore.

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12 Days Of Dino Dicember #14: Triassic Attack (2010)

To give us a breather from an apparently endless strain of incredibly stupid scientists who would resurrect Hitler and put his brain in a T-Rex for the lulz… this time no one is cloning anything, or tampering in god’s domain without a rubber octopus on strings.

None of that shit.

Sorry for the screenshots “salvage fest”, but despite IMDB listing it having an italian release date (which is true since it was aired on tv here… i guess once), i couldn’t even find images of the apparent UK release, let alone a UK DVD, it’s not even one of those dino flicks gated off to non-UK Amazon Prime Video users. And apparently none of the major streaming services has it.

I’m not paying extra to import it from the US or get a Japanese copy, sorry, not for Triassic Attack.

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Krampus Origins (2018) [REVIEW] | WW Krampus

I guess i really should review a Krampus movie that’s actually about the Krampus creature this year, and i’m fairly sure i didn’t watch this already under a different title, so it’ll do…fine, i hope.

During World War I, a group of American soldiers storm a German bunker, finding there a mysterious book that can summon the ancient evil of the Christmas Devil, the Krampus.

The men are killed in action, and the book is sent to the commanding officer’s widow, whom has just taken up the role of teacher at a Catholic orphanage. One of the orphans there gets a hold of the book and accidentally summons the Krampus, forcing them, the teacher, nuns and priest to face it.

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[EXPRESSO] Troll (2022) | AWAKEN, AWAKEN, AWAKEN, AWAKEN

No, they didn’t reboot that specific series, this is simply a new monster movie from Norway about a very Norvegian type of monster: a troll. As in, the ones from the folklore, not the type of kid-friendly version proposed by beloved children book series and cartoon Moomins.

It released at the start of Dicember on Netflix, and it follow the release of the titular monster during construction work to open a new railroad through the Dovrefjell Mountain. The miners light up some explosive to clear the way, but something makes the earth tremble and causes destruction.

Unclear on what exactly happened, the prime minister summons various experts, like geologists, biologist and even paleontologist Nora Tildemann is interrupted during a successful search to look at the footage.

She manages to notices that the video reveals a human-like figure, and further investigation brings her – and the people tasked to help her – to the realization that this is indeed a troll, like the one in the fairytale her father told her, and that they need to find a way to stop it before it reaches Oslo.

At heart, Troll follows pretty much the standard monster movie formula and structure, down to the army being useless, pretty typical but at the same time it’s fairly well executed, the characters are quite likable, there is a lot more humour than one might expect (without ever going full spoof), and while it’s never fully explored, the troll folklore/mythology shown here help freshen up the familiar nature of the story and its execution, while also making you feel sympathy for the giant creature.

It’s nothing original but the effects are good, the pace is faster than anticipated, and overall it’s a very solid, quite entertainng monster movie, i wouldn’t mind to see those planned sequels.

[EXPRESSO] Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022) | Vibranium Wars

For the record: i did enjoy the first Black Panther movie quite a lot when i saw it in theathers.

But i also saw how flippant is the quality of the MCU theathrical offerings, so expectations are as low as they have been for years. Especially with the passing of Chadwick Boseman, which is also honored and diegetically considered, as the death of T’Challa leaves Wakanda open to other nations trying to rob them of the Vibranium, forcing the reigning queen, the princess Shuri ( sister of the late T’Challa) and the remaining warrior women to fight for their land as Namor (i guess a different one from the Aquaman lore, despite the identical name) the king of a secret underwater-dwelling meso-american tribe rises up to force Wakanda into war.

After they take their sweet time, let’s be blunt, this one it’s almost 3 hours long, and boy you’ll feel it. It’s not even correct to say the movie it’s unnecessarily long, but it does take its time to set up various subplots and elaborate on the themes of legacy, inheritance and will that connect the Phase 4 Marvel movies together, as the characters deal with the emotional baggage left to them, which it’s fine but it feels like them ruminating/depending on the first movie to make you care this time too.

It’s the same issue plenty of these new Marvel movie have, and Wakanda Forever it’s no exception, arguably a little worse, which is a shame since the plot has some promise but never feels properly coherent, the cast it’s great, the villain is quite decent, but i found myself not really that invested in the new characters, the new kingdom and the new struggles Wakanda and its warriors face.

It’s a decent but unimpressive (and kinda bloated) sequel.

The Spooktacular Eight #15: Once Bitten (1985)

While we wait for the third Sonic The Hedgehog film to remind us that Jim Carrey still works because why wouldn’t he say no to Sega asking him to redo his old shtick… well, let’s go back to one of his earlier film for this year’s entry in old horror comedies that time forgot.

I could have reviewed instead The Silence Of The Hams, but we did revisit Dracula Dead And Loving it last years, so Mel Brooks and Ezio Greggio get a pass this year.

I actually haven’t seen nor heard of this one before doing some research, so serendipity today brought us to shine a spotlight on Jim Carrey’s early carriers, and it’s hard to go back even further than Once Bitten in terms of feature films, since this movie marked Carrey’s first major role ever, playing the innocent and naive high school student Mark Kendall, seduced in a Hollywood’s nightclub by a sultry countress, whom happens to be a four centhuries old vampire.

Why him? Well, in order to keep her youthful appearance (and immortality), she has to drink blood from a male virgin man 3 times by Halloween each year, which starts to become a issue, since its the 80s and this centuries old vampire countress figured it was best to settle in frigging California to satisfy this specific need. HM.

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The Spooktacular Eight #14: Dylan Dog: Dead Of Night (2010)

As they announced via a trailer early this month, we’re gonna have Bonelli, an italian comic books publishing house, give another crack of turning one of their decades long running series into a live action film, with the movie adaptation of Dampyr, a horror comic book series created in 2000 by Mauro Boselli and Maurizio Colombo about the supernatural adventures of the protagonist, a hybrid between a human and a vampire (so, yes, a “dhampir”), set to release very soon in theathers here.

Not only that, this is supposed to kickstart the Bonelli Cinematic Universe, and while to many non-italians readers this sounds like a cheap joke i’m making up…. it ain’t, and from a more marketing-oriented view, it makes sense, as now the time is ripe to give it a shot as audiences are familiar and used to superhero stories and stuff alike.

Still, it sounds hilarious to me to see them still trying to go this route, as if Universal itself tried and managed to cock it up not once, but twice, and in general very few players can do the MCU thing.

So it’s worth bringing back that the precedents aren’t exactly high in terms of inspiring any confidence or actual committment to any long term plan, as we saw Sergio Bonelli’s publishing house try it more than a decade ago with the live action adaptation of a far more famous italian horror-supernatural comic book series that will ring a bell even outside of Italy.

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