Thursday, 30 March 2017

Ghost in the Shell - Cyberpunk Rebirth

I just love cyberpunk science fiction, but unfortunately it peaked in the 80's as a bleak prediction of what a dystopian future would look like. You're probably saying "but wait, didn't the Ghost in the Shell anime appear in the 90's?" Yes, in 1995 actually and to great and overwhelming appraisal. In my opinion, it was one of the last hardboiled and noir-esque cyberpunk movies, even if animated, from its generation, since it was based on a 1989 manga series that was very popular in Japan. It followed a similar thematic allegory as Akira, but rather in tone with Blade Runner, set in a colorful yet downtrodden city infested by technology, a setting that was in fact born long ago, in the first cyberpunk movie ever envisioned by humans, Metropolis (1927). As we all know, cyberpunk has understandably changed throughout the years and since then, from Luc Besson's The Fifth Element to Wakowskis' The Matrix series, each passing generation emulating the trending social fears of their time. But we're back now, I don't know if you noticed, we're back to 1984, when fear of being watched and controlled from the shadows, the fear of having no real freedom prevails. And what a beautiful way to revive the old school, neo noir, cyberpunk era with a remake of the classic Ghost in the Shell!

Monday, 20 March 2017

Tom Clancy's The Division one year later

Actually, Ubisoft's The Division was first announced at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in 2013, three years before it was released. To much of everyone who gleefully expected the game, including me, the game was almost what was advertised. Honestly, I first thought it would be a sort of single-player but mostly co-op focused open world third person shooter with role playing elements. As you'll see, it is not that. The graphics weren't as amazing as they were initially presented, but I understand that for two reasons. First, it was in a time when Ubisoft really put ALL their trust in the marketing department and used to advertise their games in a misleading manner. I think they learned their lesson by now, since their newest Tom Clancy game, Ghost Recon: Wildlands, was advertised in the most accurate way... possible. Secondly, these first gameplay footages they are showcasing are mostly done specifically for advertising purposes while the game is still very early in development and they only have the basics of what they strive for in the final version, hence why The Division has an entirely modified HUD. Besides, these first reveal gameplays are always done in a very constrained and linear manner, so that it can be filled with all kinds of effects, details and textures that can't be rendered in a full game with the limits of current technology. Now that I've both defended and criticized a single shitty practice Ubisoft pulled to rack in lots of money, let's talk about how The Division fares after its first birthday.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

What's so great about Logan?

To be able to answer the titular question, let's make a short comparative analysis of Mangold's Wolverine movies.
After the major fail of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, a movie that had sparks of genius, in my opinion, the direction of the Wolverine movies shifted to a more serious approach with James Mangold on the helm, who outright ignored the aforementioned film. Both The Wolverine (2013) and Logan are loosely based on two highly regarded and very popular limited series comic books featuring the character. Logan is inspired by the very popular Old Man Logan series and one other that I won't spoil. Before hiring Mangold, executives at 20th Century Fox were so adamant... about making up for the X-Men Origins disaster that they were in real talks with Darren Aronofsky. That must've inpired James Mangold to reach for high standards and a strong artistic tone.