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sábado, 1 de abril de 2017

Alien (1979)

I remember I watched Alien when I was a kid. I don't know for sure if it was rented from the video store (old man!) or if it was on TV (if not on demand, old man the same way!)

One day it was there and it got my attention. I sat and watched, you know, space, aliens, things that are interesting to everyone (yes, everyone, ok?). I haven't kept in my memory much of the story itself or any other detail of the movie as a movie. In my memory only "the experience" remained. I remember I watched, I remember the fear, the thrill and the disgust for the liquid from the android's head.

Some days ago I watched the movie again just for the fun, just because it is a movie that is always on the lists of better movies of all time and specially because I like to spend my time on this planet learning abou the world of fake stories registered in film (cinema!). Besides, it is always interesting to revisit and know with today's head (big head) something I only knew with my kid head (still big but also with Dumbo flap ears).

Putting in a simple way, Alien is a thriller with elements of terror and sci-fi that talks about survivor facing something unknown. It is a movie that came out in 1979 and tells a story in a not so far future inside a mining space ship in space (!).

The director is Ridley Scott, to me a director that knows how to execute cinema concepts like art direction, lighting, scene composition, casting and so on, but is a director that relies heavily on a good script to make a movie that is fun to watch. Some of his movies can be simply boring and uninteresting, despite having all the technical things done great. To me, this technical execution without the "story telling" just doesn't work. It is funny how the other way around, at least to me, works.

However, considering this movie in particular, the great script is there and then the combination with his technical talent suns to be something special. In fact, remembering now his movies, I think I can say this one is possibly one of his best works, together with Black Hawk Down, in my (big headed) opinion.

I liked how the plot construction helps do create the mood, presenting new elements little by little, changing the stage where the story is told and what are the rules and possibilities in place. First there is a story line focused on the relationships of the crew, then the mystery of why they were woke up, them they exploring this reason and then the consequences and then the survivor. It is, as if the movie had this small movies and moments changing the game, playing with the head of the person watching that never really fell safe and in control of the rules of the story being told.

Putting in a different context, let's say, video games, I think the best example I can think, ironically or not, considering that is a game very much inspired by this movie, would be Super Metroid for the SNES. At each new area discovered the world goes expanding and the player experience is changed and changed by the point that by the end of the game the genre of the game itself changes. It reminds me that I do need to write about Super Metroid here sometime in the future.

Another thing that the story has (wich was written by Dan O'Bannon and Ronald Shusett, I must say) that helps to drive this uneasyness feeling is that it does not define clearly if we have a main character. The movie gives you hints here and there to make you think we have a main character, however, as people start to die, the idea of "this is the hero and no matter what happens the hero will save itself"goes away. Today this effect is lost a little because the Alien movies are famous so, even if you never watched a movie from the series you may know which character is going to live by the end. Yet, it is fun to see how it is developed on the movie and how the end and this effect may have sounded fresh back when the movie was released.

Considering the visual side, I like the cyber punk vibe, the technology that looks outdated to our standards, but at the same time, can convince it is advanced and tough enough to be in space.

The world around the story is very interesting also, in fact it is not explained fully, it is just described in more simple lines here and there in the way the characters talk. Even so, we can see a dystopian future where the big corporations are in charge of the world. There is very clear the idea that the company that hired them is not reliable and don't care about them up to the point to demand things like "If you don't do this thing here that may kill you, you won't receive any payment when you come back to Earth, as it is stated on the contract you signed before you go".

Not only in artistic works of entertainment, it is always curious when, while looking at something of the past, we find ideas, concepts and other things that we have today and in some way or another may have started right there, on that specific piece.

Along with that, when we see these ideas in a more primitive state we can realize a context and a whole set of ideas that not necessarily were carried along to everything that that piece influenced.

In other words, it is as if, from all the ideas that where there, just a few of then were picked to be developed and collected to the future. Then, when we look again to this pieces from the past that had big influences, we can identify the concepts we already know from our time, but we can also see much more, in fact we can see enough to give to that old thing a new meaning, an updated tune, capable to generate inspirations that were not generated at its time.

It is funny how it works also the historical events, book and videogames.

If you like thrillers, you may have a good time with this movie. In fact, if you by chance is a functional lier (writer), it may be specially interesting to you just to check this way to present the story changing and moving. Even if the movie have some problems here and there about pacing and outdated special effects, it hold up very well despite its age and even if  this is a story you already know being told in a way you may feel quite familiar.

Something old is not always old.

sábado, 25 de março de 2017

Revisiting The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

The first time I played Twilight Princess was in Wii, almost one year after the launch.

I remember the excitement with the possibilities that the Wii could bring with the movement controller and I remember I liked the the game, despite failing to enjoy it as whole because me, as a person, back then, had my head a little messier than I wish it was. So, for being not so calm and tranquil, I remember I used to play many hours straight, like go away world, like through the night and day. So, because I devoured the game like this, some of the things the game had ended up being lost along the way o simply not noticed or felt as they should.

Yet, some moments remained with me, some dungeons areas, some parts of the story and, more than all, the soundtrack.

Year later, I revisited the game, now on Wii U, on the HD remake and the first impression I had was that I just didn't remembered how good this game is. I could remember it being good, but not that good.

Today, inside my grown-up-man routine that only fits 1 hour of videogame a day, more than having the opportunity to savor every moment of the game piece by piece in the 64 hours it took me to finish the game this time, I was impressed for not remembering how big and detailed the world was to its time. This without mention the dungeons that are easily one of the best set of the series.

There is a wise saying that states that to create something that will really remain registered on peoples mind is necessary to combine what people want with what they don't know they want. If is being delivered just what people are expecting, you may have some positive response, but that product tends to have a much smaller impact. People need to be surprised.

There is also that other saying that there is a right time anything. A good book, a good game, even a good advice, can be much less appreciated simply because it is not the right time.

I mention these things not because I'm old, fat and boring, but because Twilight Princess is one of the zeldas that gets less love and recognition and I believe it is much more related to the moment the game was released than to the game itself. I think many people still remember it as being the game that came after Wind Waker, as the game the went back from the cartoon style and to something closer to Nintendo 64's zeldas, following the clame and passion of most gamers at the time.

Twilight Princess was released at the end of GameCube's cycle, a console that placed Nintendo in a much smaller position on the game world and in some sense they created a game that responded to what the fans demanded so much, leading to positive and negative results. The game sold well. The game helped to pavement the way for the Wii, being one of the launch titles of the console and so on, but since it was delivered as much as ordered, I believe made people love and respect this game much less.

If we wanna be fair the game do have its own things and charm. There is a elegance in the way somethings are treated and done, on the dialogues, on the memorable characters, or things like the fortune teller used to help do find heart pieces. This zelda is the only one where you need 5 heart pieces to form a new heart, so there is more reasons for you to go explore caves, help strangers and wonder around the world.

Before playing Twilight Princess, the last two zeldas I played were Minish Cap on GBA and Skyward Sword, both I want to talk in a separated text later. I must say that these two games failed to cause in me what the games of the zelda series used to cause. Both games are good, Minish Cap is better, but these two games were point bellow the average of zelda games to me. Play Twilight Princess again made me remember why I love zelda games so much.

It is curious how some of the moments I remember of being so cool, playing now on the Wii U, without the wiimote the experience was not so fun. At the same time, moments that I had registred in my memory as "Wow!" moments happened again and were registred again, now in HD ( :P ). The first time you can run (like a crazy person) thru the world with your horse is still quite exciting.

About the soundtrack, as I said, the other time I played it was my favorite thing of the game. Today, I can say, after replaying other zelda games to compare, this game probably has the best soundtrack of all the zelda games. However, I have to say, I still haven't played Breath of the Wild (Ah!!! not yet!!!! ahhh!).

Before I go, I think it is important to say how sometimes we find in games a sense of scale, of open world, of everything that has to be done and can be done, a search for realism that makes all so big, so huge, that a experience that supposed to be fun end up being the opposite. To me,  it is a important issue, to balance how much of the real world you wanna create, in terms of scale, number of cities and possibilities for the player on that world. Most games are not a lifetime experience, most games represente a defined amount of hours that are used to tell a tale, to bring a experience. That is why the old games, without all these huge things we see today were fun, survived and survive very well still these days. Twilight princess, if compared to modern games, has many simplifications, even more if we consider this world after GTA, after Skyrim and all else, however, in its choice of simplicity the experience the game is willing to tell works perfectly.

To sum it up, it was a very positive experience. Recommended game, indeed.

terça-feira, 28 de fevereiro de 2017

The satire of GTA V

Great analysis, the examples they use help do make it clear that the guys behind GTA are fully aware of what they are creating and criticizing. If you had any doubt it, of course XD

sexta-feira, 20 de janeiro de 2017

Peacock spider

Here is the dancing of the male peacock spider to attract females. If you wanna se more, these videos come from the youtube channel PeacockSpiderman and they have much more over there.

Oh, and if during the videos you imagine a voice saying "Here! Look at me! See how I dance! See how I sexy! See how I move! Me! Yeah, you want it! See!", well, you are no alone.

domingo, 27 de novembro de 2016

domingo, 20 de novembro de 2016

Fantastic beasts and where to find them

When I first heard about "Fantastic beasts and where to find them" I was not very excited. I didn't liked to know it would not be based on a book. I liked even less when I heard the news that it would no longer be just one movie but three and then that it would not be three, but five. Yes, five!

It sucks to see how, more than any other time that I can remember, we have today a search to extract the maximum of any and every franchise from the world of entertainment.

The idea that seems to dominate the minds of those making decisions is not to stimulate new creations but to divide final chapters (or even firsts and middle ones), create things that are on top of others that had financial success, doing a thousand references, rebooting franchises, but keeping tied to the the originals, creating a layer of parasites attached around every idea that made a profit.

The objetive is profit, not the idea. The objetive is to make money, not to tell stories that can pass messages ou simply make people fell better. Pay! Pay now! Heroes journey once again, down your throat! Copy the ideia of that movie, so they will like! Call all actors again so we can make some scenes with silly jokes here and there! Pay again! Go!

It's all so entangled and so dependent that the door to to make this projects to become more than parasites gets to small. It is no surprise that that just a few save themselves.

And yet, I went to the movies. I got there without watching any trailer, I was there because I knew the script was written by J. K. Rowling and because to me it was a universe worth revisiting, even if the movie was bad, sold out, another product of this scheme of formulaic parasite copies. Even if this was not a movie for me.

To my surprise, I didn't needed more than fifteen minutes to realize what my final opinion would be about the film. The actors, the script, the feel of the movie itself, it was all there. That fifteen minutes were enough to make me see how my fears were wrong, to fell myself being filed of joy because this was good and this were just the first minutes, I still had the whole movie. Better than that, I still had more four movies! The magic was back!

Making it very clear, the movie is really good. It is not perfect, but everything is there, all at the right place. If you like the universe of Harry Potter, the books, the movies, the games, or just some of it, you may stand up and dance around your computer. Go, celebrate, I wait.

It is new, it is different, but is familiar. It is a world of magic outside of the school, with grow up characters, allowing new problems, new nuances, expanding the world. This change of tune gives freedom to this movies to be something else, to be their own thing. It is the same world, the same rules, but, repeating myself shamelessly, it is different. This is not a parasite and manages to have that vibe of a first step, the first chapter, introducing new characters, open and closing conflicts, creating a problem that is proporcional to the beginning of a new journey.

If you are a fan of the series, a fan of J. K. Rowling or just someone looking for a light and fun adventure movie, go watch it. Fearless. It is worth of your time.

I don't wanna be a complainer and all, but, just because I really like the way she writes, I can't stop thinking how good a book of this story could be, you know? A book, one of those with pages, well written, with words and words of layers and immersion like Rowling can write. Nevertheless, I'm very happy with what was delivered here.

quinta-feira, 17 de novembro de 2016

About the video game industry in Brazil

The video above is the first episode of a 3 parts documentary produced by Red Bull, talking about the video game industry in Brazil (as the title may imply XD).

The 3 parts together sum around 30 minutes and if you like video games and technology it is worth of your time.

To watch episodes 2 and 3, or to learn more click here.