Friday, June 5, 2009


Okay, so I saw Up.  And, well, I can’t really believe it, but it just won the award for best Pixar movie.  I’m still blown away.  I’m still recovering.  I can barely believe what I just watched.  All I want to do is go back and watch those first 10-15 minutes again.  And again.  And again.  I’ll just cry the whole time.  

It’s that beautiful.  It’s that touching.  It’s that perfect.  

It’s amazing to me that Pixar movies manage to keep getting better.  I still remember how much Toy Story spoke to me when I was much younger.  That was back before they’d proven how good they were.  They followed it up with A Bug’s Life, which I didn’t really like.  I didn’t really like Toy Story 2 either.  Or Monster’s Inc. (although that one’s grown on me).  From that point on, though, Cars is their only blemish.

I mean, c’mon, it wasn’t that long ago when Finding Nemo was hands down the best thing they’d done since Toy Story.  But then they did The Incredibles and Ratatouille and Wall-E.  And now they’ve done Up.  

And it is perfect.

Obviously, Finding Nemo is about being a parent.  About the adventure of dedicating your life to your offspring and it’s a great movie.  

To me, The Incredibles was Pixar’s take on the superhero genre and it was my favorite up until tonight.  But it was also about family and about finding your place in the world, not on your own, but with the company and approval of those you love.  But it was also about the desire to be special and stand out.

Ratatouille was an ode to food that stunned me with its beauty.  But more than that, it was about having a passion for something.  About loving it and believing in it absolutely and the excitement and joy of sharing that passion with others.  

Wall-E was a love story.  Between two inanimate objects.  It’s Pixar take on the sci-fi genre.  It’s the best sci-fi movie in a long time.  It’s a lot of things.  But, really, it’s just a love story and the lengths that one will go to for love.  My favorite thing about Wall-E is that he never realized that he saved humanity from itself.  The only thing he cared about was being with Eve.  On a side note, I never believed that the movie was about, or against, material excess.  If anything, I think it was rather worshipful of the beauty that Wall-E created with humanity’s trash.  And on the ship, the population had never been given the option to choose and so it can’t be condemning their excesses.

And then there’s Up.  It’s about loss.  About accepting loss and moving forward.  But it’s about dreams.  About living with dreams, about missing out on dreams, and about the dreams of those you love.  At the same time, it’s a gorgeous fantasy about exploration and escaping a world that has left you behind.  

There’s so much to love about this movie.  I can’t help but love Karl.  I loved the journey he made.  I loved getting to see him smile again.  

That is all.


Thursday, June 4, 2009

E3 Impressions

Well, it’s that time of year again.  That special time of year when I am completely incapable of doing anything remotely like work and simply spend all my time refreshing gaming web sites pages to see if they’ve updated with any content that I care about (the answer: no).  

And, I guess it’s cool that E3 is back to being “kind of a big deal”.  Yeah, since I can’t go I don’t really care either.  But I did check out the live blogs of the various big 3 keynotes.  It’s kind of surreal watching those, though.  I mean, I don’t know who they think they’re talking to, but it certainly isn’t me.  It’s kind of depressing.  It’s extra-depressing since that was my reaction last year as well.

To be honest, I’m only ever going to care about a very small percentage of the gaming news from any E3.  For one, I’m not picking up an Xbox 360 and I’m probably not going to pick up a Wii.  Why? You ask.  The answer is simple.  I honestly don’t have time.  I can’t keep up with all the games that I buy and play for my PS3, what’s the point in buying more consoles?  That’s what it really came down to.  

And, within the PS3 game list, I’m only really interested in playing single player PS3 games, particularly in the platformer, survival-horror, and RPG genre.  So, when Microsoft tells me that they’re working on this camera peripheral that can recognize my face and track my movements, I don’t really care.  I’m not going to be moving around when I’m playing games.  I don’t even want to be (let alone buying a 360 for that).  Same with Sony’s little contraption thing.  I just don’t care.  

But, there are some things I do care about.  Like that footage of The Last Guardian.  It’s hard to explain how good that video makes me feel, but it makes me feel good.  All warm and fuzzy inside, and maybe a little choked up.  That’s what Team Ico specializes.  Magic.  Similarly, but on a totally different note, Heavy Rain is coming along.  The ridiculously terrible camera controls in Indigo Prophecy tore me away from that game, but it doesn’t stop me from being very excited for their next game.  

Of course, it’s also good to see that I can keep looking forward to White Knight Chronicles.  And I was happy to hear that the main character in Assassin’s Creed can swim (I don’t know if it’s good a thing for a sequel that its most exciting piece of news is that the developers got rid of a stupidly annoying aspect of the original).  

On the flip side, each time I see something for Dante’s Inferno, it makes me less excited for that game.  I really, really hope that the game has long load times where it forces you to read the poem.  That would be awesome.  Or maybe a journal where he’s slowly recording the poem.  Except, the game doesn’t seem to feature Virgil.  Unless, the player is Virgil, guiding Dante through Hell.  That could work.  Okay, I admit it, less excited for this game is still rather excited.  

And I want to know why I didn’t get to read all sorts of stuff about Beyond Good and Evil 2.  

And, on an unrelated note, I have a question.  What can Square-Enix possibly show us from Final Fantasy XIII that would actually matter?  I mean, a couple years ago they showed me the title graphic.  At that point, I was pretty much sold.  They can show me all the confusing pieces of the CG movies they want, I mean, it doesn’t mean anything to me.  I’m already buying it the moment it comes out.  

Let’s see, other reactions... I guess I don’t really have very strong feelings about God of War III.  It’s a little depressing that the typical comments are something along the lines of:  it’s crazy gory, like you won’t even believe.  I mean, how is that a recommendation?  I wasn’t playing God of War for the gore.  But maybe all the cool kids were.  

And then there’s The Beatles: Rock Band.  Obviously, I’m excited.  Vocal harmonies will be tough.  Really tough.  But obviously worth every second.  And the idea of full album downloads makes me giddy.  I can keep on dreaming of that special day when I can play through the entirety of Sergeant Pepper’s.  That will be a good day.  


But, yeah, I guess that’s the stuff I care about.  I’m looking forward to hearing how that Metroid game comes out, of course (and for that matter, I might even consider checking out Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2, even though the first was already stupidly ridiculously hard).

So, yeah, that’s E3 for you.  Overall, I think it went alright.  All things considered.  And, well, maybe I’ll even consider playing an MMO when FF XIV comes you.  Stranger things have happened.