November 2009

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

I didn’t know what to expect when I watched the first Ice Age.  But I was entertained by this quirky little adventure which follows a sloth, a mammoth, and a sabertooth tiger.  Not really a natural herd by any means, but it worked for them.  Ice Age 2: The Meltdown follows the same formula as the first and like any sequel it bumps it up a notch and adds some more quirky characters, this time with a female mammoth, and two possum, making the herd even more unusual, but again it worked and the movie was entertaining.  With two successful movie, it only makes sense for Blue Sky Studio to want to release another installation.  So here comes Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs.

Sid being Sid, decide that he is going to become the mother of three unhatched eggs that he found and brought back home.  What he mistakenly assess is that the mother of those eggs is still alive and is now looking for them.  When she finds him and her now hatched eggs, she sweeps the babies up along with an unwilling Sid and carries them to her home, an underground world full of dinosaurs.  Now Manny, Diego, and the rest of the herd must now go into this new world after the mother to save Sid once again.

Dawn of the Dinosaurs follows the same formula as the two previous movies, you have an adventure where the group must get from point A to point B, this time with the help of a weasel which have been living amongst the dinosaurs, but the script is absolutely horrible.  I found myself time and time again during the movie, just wondering why I was watching something so terrible.  I really can’t put my finger on the exact thing.  I just found that everything the characters did was just stupid and had no motivation in doing them, even for a kids movie.  The build-up was one of the most idiotic I had ever seen.

This movie is plain bad.  The script and directing was terrible, and that’s bad since they follow the same formula as the previous two movies which were widely successful.

Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs gets a 1.5 out of 5.


Courtesy of Focus Feature

Everyone knows the story, well everyone should know the story.  Some of you might be too young.

Back in the sixties, probably the best rock decades in the history of music, if not one of the best.  Rock was actually banned from airing on the radios.  The doing of uptight bureaucrats who believe that listening to rock & roll will taint and corrupt the mind of its people.  Could you believe that?  People actually think that rock & roll is bad for you.  Kind of like what todays uptight bureaucrat believe of rated ‘R’ movies and violent video games, or what Reverend Shaw Moore thought of dancing in Footloose.

Because it was illegal to broadcast rock & roll, radio station outsmarted the government and decided to broadcast from boats in international waters, where the government had no authority, and this is where this movie picks up.

The movie follows the lives of 8 rogue radio DJs of the most popular pirate radio station of its time, Radio Rock, they all pretty  much lives on this boat off the coast of England.  The movie is all about the love and fun of rock & roll and it shows it with 8 different but eclectic characters, but it is not without any drama.  The government is trying everything it can to try to shut them down.  The government would rather have its people listen to classical music and jazz than have their airwaves polluted with rock & roll.  There is also the drama of ego and discoverence.  All this adds up to one funny movie.

It is a british movie, so you have to be ready for that.  Surprisingly, the comedy isn’t as dry as you would expect, but it isn’t as laugh out loud funny as it was touted.  The story and writing is pretty good, but it is pretty garbled at times.  The one thing that does live up to the movie and it shouldn’t be any surprise is the music.  The music is absolutely fabulous.

This is an absolutely great assemble cast.  Philip Seymour Hoffman first of all is probably the best actor today, bar none.  Add that with a who’s who of british actors and this makes for one great cast and they don’t disappoint.  You even have the entire The IT Crowd cast in this movie.

The movie is funny and witty with some drama to advance the story.  It has an absolute great soundtrack and cast.  But the story and editing sometimes feel garbled, plus I liked the original title, The Boat That Rocked, better than US title, Pirate Radio.

Pirate Radio gets a 3.5 out of 5.

Little spoiler.  The end credit has the cover art of a bunch of albums.  The one that stood out for me.  Taylor Swift – Fearless.

From Ubisoft

To continue with the Prince of Persia series, here is my review on the next game.  I, however, made a mistake.  I played The Two Thrones, the 3rd installment of the series, before I could play Warrior Within, the 2nd installment of the series.  This is what happen when you’ve been out of video games for a while.  I actually thought there was only 2 PS2 games.  Oh well, here we go.

On the way home to Babylon, the prince find that it has been ravish by war.  He finds that the Vizer from Sands of Time is back and alive and is behind the war.  He is now set to find and destroy him.

The story is pretty good, it follows The Sands of Time structure almost to a tee.  This time the prince has some help at narrating this epic story.  It is narrated by his dead wife, himself, and his emerging dark side.

The gameplay is very similar to Sands of Time.  The acrobatic fighting system is back and just as good.  The blocking though, is frustrating, as it doesn’t always work, and when it does work, some enemies can knock you out of defense and you wouldn’t know about it until it’s too late since you are barraged with a slew of enemies.  Really the best defense is to just keep moving.

The movement and camera is also similar to Sands of Time, it is very fluid and you’ll hardly complain about it.

The graphic is better than Sands of Time, as it should, but it does one of the things that I absolutely hate, it mask some key obstacles to the points where you can’t see where you are suppose to go.  This is very frustrating, especially when you are in the new sand monster form.  You loose health every time you are in that form and you have no control of changing back.  The only way to counteract that is to kill and collect sand particles, which is hard to do if you don’t know where you are going.

The game is good, it has a nice storyline and good gameplay.  I did find some frustrating moments, like the fact that you can’t replenish your health unless you are at a save point and I feel like the save points are badly located.  Some times there’ll be save points 3 minutes apart, and other times they’ll be an hour apart with multiple battle and obstacle traps in between.  But it has also added a few elements that I thought were missing in the first game like bosses and the ability to sneak behind enemies.

Prince of Persia – The Two Thrones gets a 8.5 out of 10.

From Ubisoft

Lately, everyone seems to be talking about video games.  I use to play, but with money being so tight, I stop buying them and stopped playing them.  I don’t even have a new generation console (360, PS3, Wii).  With all these talks and with the holiday game library coming out, I’m starting to miss playing games.  So I’ve been considering getting updated and getting a new system.  But first, I’ve decided that I would play games for my current console (PS2) which I haven’t played yet and see if I can get back into the flow of playing video games.

With a movie coming out soon, I decided that I would start playing the Prince of Persia series.  I’ve always wanted to play them, but wasn’t willing to pay for them and the original Prince of Persia was one of the very first game I’ve ever played. So I’m a fan.  The bonus, I got the games at a fraction of the original cost.

So ok, I’m a bit late with this review.

The Prince and his dad are on their way to Azad. On route there, with the help of Vizier, a foreigners, they conquer and loot a city called Maharajah for honor and glory.  Part of Maharajah mysterious artifact includes the hourglass and dagger of time.  In Azad, Vizier tricks the prince into releasing the sand trapped inside the hourglass.  The sand washes over the entire kingdom turning everyone into monsters.  The prince must now rectify his mistake and find the hourglass which was taken by Vizier.

Sands of Time has a good story.  it isn’t anything spectacular, but it progresses the gameplay well.  The Prince story is told with nice full-blown video clips and witty in-game dialogue.  The Prince even talks to himself and even talks about talking to himself, which makes it pretty amusing.  This method of story telling works well, because it doesn’t break away from the action, plus hearing the story comes straight from the characters mouth makes him more likable.

The gameplay is wonderful.  You’ll move, jump, swing, attack all in one fluid motion.  You’ll encounter challenging environmental puzzles, deadly traps, brutal swordplay and astonishing acrobatics, all while you travel throughout the entire palace , which is huge, in search for the hourglass.  And you’ll enjoy every minute of it.

One draw back.  By the time I got through 70% of the game, I felt that I was pretty much doing the same thing, every level has a obstacles that you must pass, by jumping, running on walls, or swinging, and by this time, I felt that it was all I was doing.  Plus the lack of bosses was really downer.

Prince of Persia The Sands of Time get a 8.5 out of 10.