Sunday, 14 July 2013

Review: My Childhood Memory Can Sleep Well Now

Michael Bay, stand aside, Guillermo Del Toro (writer of The Hobbit movie, director of Hellboy) just showed how robot movie should be done! As for me growing up watching robots and monsters movie, Ultraman, Gundam, Jurassic Park and Godzilla, I was hoping I can watch a made in Hollywood monsters vs. robots movie, Pacific Rim is that movie. Giant mechs? Check. Giant robots? Check. And boy, it delivers!

In the near future, giant alien monsters, known as Kaiju (Japanese for monsters) have risen from the bottom of the Pacific Ocean through a portal, which took a heavy toll on the human race. The world decided new solution is needed, hence the creation of giant humanoid robots, know as Jaegers (German for hunter), pilot by two pilots in neural link, to fight these Kaiju.

The plot is not bright, but is serviceable to this movie. Not all movie needs great storyline, but Pacific Rim is definitely better than those visual effect fest movies in recent years. It makes you at least believe that is "Oh shit! We need robots!" The acting of the movie is just normal, not particularly bright, but one got my attention, the no non-sense Jaeger program leader, Stacker Pentecost, played by Idris Elba, luckily they chose him over Tom Cruise, whom I think is not suitable at all. The only problem with it is one or two of the subplot is not necessary.

Now let's talk about the spectacle, for that, this movie is absolutely pitch perfect. Well probably, because it just channeled out some of my nerdiness. The robots vs. monsters is something to behold, Guillermo Del Toro made the sequences believable, the Kaijus are something fearsome and scary, Jaegers are fearsome and powerful as well. They made it fit at least to some extent of the laws of physics, which the Jaegers are big and powerful, but due to size, are not fast and agile. Once the talking and explaining has settled, the movie is in full on attack mode, endless wave of Kaiju attacks, with different weapons variations.

It's amazing how in just these few years that the visual effects has evolved significantly, it's just two years since the last Transformers film, we though last time, "Wow, how are they going to beat that?" They did that with Pacific Rim. What's sets it apart from others is that the movie takes place primarily at the ocean, which gives audience a different take of these kind of movie.

In a nutshell, Pacific Rim is one heck of a movie for the summer, it set out on doing what it needed to accomplish, and it did, by creating grand spectacles of giant robots fighting monsters. It is the entertainment spectacle of the year, a movie my childhood memory deserves. I felt good watching this.

Score: 5/5

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Why I'm Convincing My Sister to Play Mass Effect

I wanna say, my sister is a big sci-fi fan, she reads a lot of novels, watches a lot of movies that is categorised as sci-fiction, she is the reason me and my other sister is a big Star Wars fans as well. That's why I have been trying to convince her to get a shot playing Mass Effect, but haven't succeed yet.

Convince her to play the games is a no-brainer, Mass Effect series is a fitting game to her taste. Plus, she is a gamer as well, even though she has since retreated to playing more casual games nowadays, she used to play Red Alert and SimCity, just to name a few. She might need time to get familiar with Mass Effect, but I guarantee, she will like the series, a lot!

Why? To me, Mass Effect is one of, if not, the best sci-fi game to come across gaming in recent years. I love the fact that the trilogy is completely related to each other, even the decisions, for example, the character you decided to kill off in Mass Effect 1, will not be returning in 2 and 3. Sometimes, there are different variations of certain missions at play if the character is not involved, which is truly unique.

In Mass Effect series, you play a character named Commander Shepard, the galaxy's first human Spectre, which he/she is the humanity's symbol in the galaxy and legend. There's no real Shepard defined, he/she is defined by the players depending on the choices they make. Players can choose to be a hero, who try to play out the game in a much positive, excellence figure, or complete the missions at any costs, regardless of casualties, or a mix of both.

Female version of Commander Shepard

But the main highlight of the series is definitely the storyline and the emotions. Throughout the entire trilogy, I've grown fond with most of the characters, laughing and crying along with any ups and downs through the story. I remember one time in Mass Effect 3, one of the characters (a squadmate in Mass Effect 2), decide to sacrifice himself for the greater good of the galaxy. I can't stop him, even there's a button to try to convince him again, he will continue regardless, due to I've done something in Mass Effect 2. Watching him facing his inevitable death is painful. This shows how alive and interesting these characters that existed in the universe.

I admit, along with millions of other gamers around the world, criticising the nature of the ending of Mass Effect 3. Even though the extended edition has rectified most of the problem, it still has the feeling that the ending is rushed, with the decisions of the final phase doesn't matter at all. It's beautiful, of course, but there's a sense of lacking with all boom! end! of the ending, it fits well as a cinema going experience, but not as a game you spent countless hours on. But, that doesn't deter from saying that the trilogy isn't amazing.

This is the main point of Mass Effect series

Not to mention the final expansion pack of Mass Effect 3, the Citadel, which features all of the beloved squadmates from the first to the third. With witty punchline from all the characters and unbelievable funny jokes. It fits well as a final send off and tribute to Commander Shepard and the crew of the Normandy (name Shepard's ship).

Mass Effect is one of my favourite stuffs in recent years. Great storylines, characters, music and great voice acting are the main reason why it is a success. My sister is a sci-fi fan, she will love this. With all the paths that will be crafted by herself, she will have her own Shepard.