Dinosaurs and Snakes Of June (plus some Violet / Scarlet Pokeposting)

First, the EXPRESSO review of Jurassic World Dominion is coming a little later than expected, for personal reasons, basically. Wanna see it leasurely and shit.

Second, a full lenght review of GITS SAC 2045’s second season is coming.

Second, June will feature a decent number of snake movies’ reviews, as it will lead into what usually is Shark Month, but this year will be a “double feature” in terms of theme, for the hell of it. You’ll see.

Lastly, i feel like i should say something about the newly revealed gameplay trailer for Pokemon Scarlet/Violet, as i did post my musings on the Pearl/Diamond remake and Legends Arceus.

Maybe it’s because i’m old enough to have done this dance over and over, i’m kinda mild over what was shown. I like the “tribal vs technology” theme, the legendaries look like Yu Gi Oh 5DX bikes, and i’m happy there’s gonna be more emphasis on multiplayer.

The very few new pokemons shown really don’t do it for me in terms of designs, i do like the Spain-inspired look of the setting (and the player character with that spanish catholic schoolboy/girl vibe), and as i literally just happened to beat Pokemon Legends Arceus, i’m sure this will expand the formula, as Arceus’ open world template it’s not complex but it’s actually fun and well executed, exactly the good change of pace the series has needed since a while ago.

Maybe as we’ll get to see and learn more how the open world will be “more open” than in Arceus, what features will be returning and what new stuff will be added… i’ll most likely warm up to this new mainline game. We’ll see.

Didn’t help that it was announced very quickly after Legends Arceus launched, way earlier than anyone expected, i mean, come on Nintendo, it will sell zillions even if you slated this to release in early january 2023.

Guess they couldn’t wait even for december this time around. Geeze.

Dynasty Warriors (2021) [REVIEW] | Wuxia Warriors Of The Three Kingdoms

One last review to end this year’s Musou May (and yes i want to make this a regular column) proper, and it couldn’t be anything else than the Dynasty Warriors live-action film that came out last year in Chinese territories and has landed on Netflix pretty much everywhere. In 2021.

I genuinely did not knew it arrived last summer, and somehow Netflix forgot to tell me they even had it, shocking given my cronology, and due to me genuinely looking forward more to the movie than to mainline Dynasty Warriors games, as i’ve lamented before.

Though it’s one that both leaves you with a lot and very little to talk about, at least in terms of plot, since the series it’s one of the many adaptations of the Romance Of The Three Kingdoms novel, and despite their over the top nature, the games stayed fairly loyal to the source material in terms of characters and events, heck, even on stuff like the sparing supernatural-magic elements.

Continua a leggere “Dynasty Warriors (2021) [REVIEW] | Wuxia Warriors Of The Three Kingdoms”

[EXPRESSO] Sonic The Hedgehog 2 (2022) | & Knuckles

Might as well, since i did watch the first live action Sonic movie 2 years ago, i didn’t hate it, so let’s see if there are some improvements or whatever. Shame that since it’s dubbed here i won’t be able to hear Idris Elba voicing Knuckles, but what can you do?

After banishing Eggman/Robotnik into another dimension at the end of the first movie, Sonic and his acquired human family move to a peaceful town in Montana. Sonic tries to moonlight as a superhero-vigilante but as he causes more trouble by doing so he’s recommended to lay low and wait until his powers will be needed again.

Turns out that time is sooner than expected, as Dr. Robotnik comes back from his fungine dimensional exile, bringing a powerful creature known as Knuckles fighting for him in search of the fabled Master Emerald, while Sonic finds an ally in the two-tailed fox Tails.

To my surprise, this one (in a similar fashion to the actual videogame sequel of the original Sonic The Hedgehog game) is better, still nothing mind blowing, but it’s definitely a step up, not only as the story ups the ante (as expected), introduces more characters, but also has more lore about the world from where Sonic was born, with the owls vs echidnas wars and stuff.

It’s just more fleshed out all around, with even the human characters having some funny bits, the various elements from the game being integrated more into the plot, which is pretty much predictable all the way but quite enjoyable, in no small part thanks – once again – to Jim Carrey’s gargantuan serving of acting ham as Doctor Robotnik, but also due to the more substantial plot.

It’s honestly a decent family-kids movie with a 90s flair (deliberately and fittingly so).

[EXPRESSO] Uncharted (2022) | Not The Erudite Henchman!

After years of delays, some vague posters showing a confused main cast that felt out of place and a trailer, the Uncharted movie its finally in cinemas pretty much worlwide, promising something with Tom Holland, Mark Whalberg and action adventure movie cliches based on a videogames that also looked at spy flicks, heist movies and Tomb Raiders as inspirations.

Personally, i had only one question in mind before seeing this: could it be worse than the shit Tomb Raider movie from 2018? Really was aggressively bored by that one and its undecisive handling of the mystical stuff, i still remember being way more frustrated than entertained when watching it.

I mean, this at least being directed by Ruben Fleischer (of Zombieland and Venom fame), so i did expect something out of it, despite the project looking very mediocre, at the very best… and i’m glad he directed it, as it moves about a great pace, the action is what you would expect from the material (and in turn the material Uncharted itself pillages/is inspired by), and there are some fun action sequences that stand out, like the airborne pirate ship battle.

It helps as it’s a very miscast adaptation, with lead actors chosen because they’re popular Hollywood faces and… that’s it, you never believe that Holland and Walhberg (or Banderas) are actually playing a character, at all, not that their characters resemble the ones from the games they’re supposed to represent, with a younger Nathan Drake that doesn’t tally up a respectable body count, because i guess Tom Holland would never do that as Spider Man doesn’t kill people, let alone with guns.

It’s not bad, it’s fine, but also the generic and lukewarm videogame movie adaptation you would expect, honestly even the games themselves have better stories.

Serviceable, though.

Ganbare Arino-san!

Today there’s no review, no promise of something coming to the blog later this year, not even a ramble on a recent subject. This one it’s for the analytics, to have something posted on to keep my streak going, but i can say i’m working on the reviews of two anime fighters, both really close to completition.

And i can recommend you watch good ol’ Arino, any way you can, good stuff!

I’m not gonna pull a “seriously though” because i do feel like Game Center CX would be up many people alleys when talking about retro videogames shows, but seems kinda niche in the “anglophone” sphere on the web.

That is better than just posting a screenshot from an anime and be done with it.

I will say i’m sorry i can’t offer much in terms of cinema releases, as even the events are lackluster, with a new documentary-style film about Van Gogh’s Sunflowers paintings and Demon Slayer: Mugen Train getting released as event projections.

Shame Mugen Train was already released here officially dubbed on Amazon Prime Video last year, i would love to see it theathers again, still, but that argument train left the station time ago, and i’m leasurelly watching the Entertaiment District arc of Demon Slayer for my own pleasure, btw.

Yeah, it’s january alright in terms of releases, even in “The Boot”, and i’ve rambled anyway, bye!

Remember Kancolle? It’s back, in second season form!

Not even two weeks into 2022, and we’re getting befuddling news like that the second season of the Kancolle anime series isn’t scrapped, but it’s coming out this fall (October 2022), after 6 years of absolutely nothing aside from messages from Kadokawa confirming the thing was actually being made somewhere, somehow, and technically not cancelled.

Guess it was true, but it’s still a surprise considering how Kancolle as a brand has been eclipsed by competitor Azur Lane, who brought the formula into international hands, making more bazillions along the way, to say nothing of the other gacha free to play games with similar themes of “antropomorphized anime girls versions of weapons… and mostly WW II warships”.

The brand as a whole it’s not dead, and Kancolle still does decently in its own original browser game incarnation back in Japan, which i guess makes sense, since Kadokawa Games’ division never planned to make the game (officially) available outside of Japan, but i guess someone in the upper echelon of Kadokawa its kicking himself he didn’t push to localize the darn thing or make a smarthphone version to also make available overseas, since Azur Lane did exactly that, and stole Kancolle’s thunder and a huge part of the potential fanbase.

So yeah, i guess that other, different Kancolle anime series that was announced – and also confirmed as “not dead” over time- it’s also being made, eventually.

Guess i’ll have to review the first season of the Kancolle anime and the sequel movie this summer, i’ve already reviewed both Azur Lane The Animation and the slice-of-life spin-off Slow Ahead, so why the fuck not?

[EXPRESSO] Resident Evil: Welcome To Raccoon City (2021) | Herbal Bundle

Finally time to review this one, the first reboot movie for the Resident Evil film series, distancing itself from the previous films by Paul W. Anderson in order to make a more faithful adaptation.

Helmed by 47 Meters Down director Johannes Roberts, Resident Evil Welcome To Raccoon City basically provides an abridged retelling combining the plot of Resident Evil and Resident Evil 2 into a single one. Not completely random as both games’ plot take place in Raccon City, where in 1998 the farmaceutical megacorporation Umbrella Corporation had basically withdraw from operating, leaving the city to wither.

After an epidemic turns people and animals into undead monsters, a squad of local police officers is sent to investigate the Spencer Mansion in the nearby mountain area, while other survivors rally to survive the horrors left by Umbrella.

There are various changes and differences, often kinda necessary due to the merging of the two plots, which leads to the movie feeling rushed, as i feared. Aside from some hamfisted (but still cute) references, the movie actually captures pretty well the horror B-movie spirit of the games, and actually wants to be a horror film.

And it succeds, the atmosphere is nice and creepy, there’s a lot of practical effects, the characters are mostly quite accurate, and most of the elements from the games are used with sense in-context.

It’s not perfect, the cast is decent but there is some questionable acting and the “plot mix” it’s a source of other issues, but overall it’s actually quite solid and enjoyable.

Shame because this is arguably the better, more faithful RE live action adaptation… but it’s shaping up to be a box office bomb, not surprising since it was released in late November, and the “Thanksgiving holiday weekend” window makes sense only for Americans.

Resident Evil: Degeneration (2008) [REVIEW] | Airport Outbreak

While not the first CG Resident Evil movie ever (that “honor” goes to the previously feautured “Biohazard 4D Executer”), Degeneration is arguably the first proper full lenght animated feature based on the Capcom series, intended as an opposite entity to the live action movie series, as those followed the plots of the game very, very loosely, but Degeneration clearly sets itself within the universe of the games, set sometimes after Resident Evil 4 and before Resident Evil 5.

Why it is this film (and the following sequels) kinda ignored, you may ask.

The answer i feel it’s pretty much as obvious as kinda inevitable, and can be really summed up with “motion capture based 3D CG animation”, which has never been too popular among either hardcore or casual fans of the franchise, or self-proclaimed “animation lovers” for that matter.

Continua a leggere “Resident Evil: Degeneration (2008) [REVIEW] | Airport Outbreak”

[EXPRESSO] Centipede Chaos ARCADE | Voxel Bug Blastin’

Atari in modern times is more garbage than it ever was, i don’t think i need to remind you of the previous incarnation of the company bearing this name actually wanting money for something called Alone In The Dark: Illumination.

Among other egregious crimes.

But what do you know, sometimes they manage to actually use the brands and franchises of old in new ways that aren’t unholy artifacts of shit, like actually making new arcade games of arcade series they own, like this Play Mechanix developed new Centipede game, Centipede Chaos.

Sporting a retro voxel graphics and a cabinet made for max 3 players, Centipede Chaos actually does things right and doesn’t try to reinvent Centipede into something else that’s not Centipede at all, it’s just straight, simple arcade shooter action with a decent soundtrack, fairly good looks and satisfying gameplay that stays true to the core formula, just throwing some limited use power-ups.

It’s a fun time even solo, but sadly it’s limited by own nature as a ticket redemption machine, meaning it’s fairly short even for an arcade Centipede game, as to not require a lot of work to get to the final boss worth the fabled 500/1000 tickets, but since this is arcade gameplay design, they throw in a dickish curveball by giving you one shot to kill the final boss, regardless of lives left or money put into the machine. Yep.

And that’s basically it, there are no extra modes or anything else to see, which it’s a bit disappointing considering the license used, but not too surprising due to the nature of redemption ticket arcade cabinets and the surrounding economy.

It’s just that kind of arcade money beast. Nothing that special overall, but definitely worth a go if you can find it in your neck of the woods.

[EXPRESSO] Space Jam: A New Legacy/New Legends (2021) | Look On My Works, Ye Great Mighty Poo

Let’s get this over with, even if it’s pointless to review, as it’s just a WB corporate flex.

I revisited the original Space Jam just before seeing this, it was a corporate vehicle emphasizing cross brand promotion, spectacle, and references over story, with the “hook” of real life celebrities acting a cliched “inspiring sports film” formula alongside animated characters.

But in retrospect it had some laughs and some self awareness NOT weaponized to just suck corporate cocks in a proud cynical fashion, all the time.

And yes, this is just a new one, a “stand-alone sequel”, make sense since it has been in development hell for 15 years.

It has the same basic premise, with a basketball game deciding the fate of a real life person and the cartoon characters he mets in a new world. Obviously this one swaps Michael Jordan for James LeBron, but also tries to up the ante and modernize it, setting it in a virtual WB-verse where an evil algorhythm-IA has trapped LeBron and his younger son Dom.

Problem is it also quadruples down on corporate bullshit, to the point it’s way longer than it needs just to have countless references using WB owned IPs. Not jokes, references. It also takes itself more seriously for no reason, and it’s often more embarassing and awkward than funny or fun.

This is an official feature length shitpost filled with memes and references (not so much jokes), and while the animation isn’t bad, it’s a stylistically spineless affair, even the older Space Jam had a consistent style to the mixing of live action and animation.

The original was a product of his time as much as this new one is, but even the 1996 movie it’s still better than this specimen of pure corporate public narcistic wanking.

Horrendous.