Reviews

Pokémon Go: First Impressions from a Beta Tester

If you have been living under a rock, Pokémon Go is a new mobile game launching this year from Niantic, the studio behind the Android game “Ingress”.  It allows Pokémon fans to do something they have always wanted to do, be the “Ash Ketchum” of their own personal Pokémon journey.  This game is now in the beta testing phase and a slew of invites were sent out this week to bring in more testers.  I was one of those lucky enough to be chosen for the test , and now that I have had the game for a few days, I decided to do a short article to give my thoughts on the game as it currently exists.

Just to preface this, I will not be giving out any information as to actual game-play mechanics.  As a beta tester, I am subject to an NDA, and I will not be breaking that.  This article is just to give my impressions having played the game for a few days.  If leaks are what you want, there are plenty of places out there to get that information.

Pokemon Go

Capture Pokemon in their first augmented reality adventure.

To start with, the game is quite fun to look at.  The graphics are quite good for a mobile game.  I am playing the game on a Nexus 6P, and it looks great  on the 5.7 inch screen.  The AR (augmented reality) portion of the game works quite well, making it look like the Pokémon are actually in front of you.

Pokemon Go

Explore your real life surroundings to capture imaginary Pokemon.

The most surprising part of Pokémon Go, for me anyway, is that it makes you actually want to leave the house.  I am not generally an active person, but this game has succeeded in making me want to leave the house and explore.  Just yesterday, I went out to go try and add a few more species to my Pokédex, and I found myself walking further and further from my home, trying to hit that next Pokéstop or gym.  There aren’t many other beta testers in my area that I have seen, but I imagine once the game releases, it won’t be uncommon to run into other people playing, hanging around those landmarks in the game.

And it is there that I think this game will succeed.  Whether you are a fan of the original Red and Blue, or a newer fan who enjoys the 3DS games, you will find something to love in Pokémon Go.  I will release a full review, as well as a tips and tricks article, once the game is closer to release and the NDA is over.

 

Pokémon Go: First Impressions from a Beta Tester

Project Nemesis: The Next Big Thing

I love kaiju, and have ever since I can remember. What is a kaiju you ask? Essentially, “kaiju” is a Japanese word meaning “Strange beast”….or “giant monster”.  They can be found in all manner of media but these are not be known by and large for being the most artful of cinematic or storytelling experiences, however a legion of like minded science fiction fans love them. I am not sure what the draw  is for the rest of the fandom, but for me, it is the size and scope of the issue. The resignation of protagonists that know there is no escaping the destruction to come, the futility of trying to negate the threat, as well as the absurdity of the threat, and yet there it stands, looming.

It is hard to create a serious kaiju story considering what the antagonist has to bring to the table. For one, how does such a huge threat go unnoticed, and if it is capable of avoiding notice…well, how the heck does it do that? These can be pretty hard questions that the storyteller has to answer before the story can be taken further, and considering how much surveillance  the world is under today, it is no wonder that fresh new takes on kaiju are hard to come by.

The next item that has to be addressed in any kaiju you are coming up with is how tough should it be? In a world of nuclear weapons and advanced military technology….most nations these days could theoretically wipe your standard 1950’s style kaiju off the map. So either you have to come up with some creative way of explaining why the military is hanging back or you have to overpower said antagonist to the point where the story is not as interesting to read.

Perhaps the most driving plot point behind a kaiju is its origin. Lets examine the big three…Godzilla, King Kong and Gamera. These are arguably the most well known kaiju that there are, and they each have fantastic origins, even if they border on the slightly mysterious.

Godzilla: A relic from a bygone era, awoken/mutated by modern nuclear weapons he comes surging out of the oceans to vent his rage on anything in his path.

King Kong: An intelligent, social creature isolated on a prehistoric island all alone, fighting to survive.

Gamera: The GMO of your nightmares, he was created by an advanced civilization thousands of years ago to serve as a protector from another race of deadly creatures.

Being a huge fan of the genre, I take a glance at anything new to hit the market.  Now that means I take a look – all too often I have been let down by authors whose hearts are in the right place, but they have written stories without researching what has come before…or practicing their own writing skills. So a few years ago, when I saw Project Nemesis pop up on Amazon, I let it sit there for a while. My mentality is that if it is actually a kaiju story, the momentum behind it will be as unstoppable as the creature(s) held within its media. So here I am a few years later. Project Nemesis is now a series of novels, a game and as of this summer, a comic. Now all of this aside, there are many stories out there that get loads of publicity, but I wouldn’t give them a second of my time. A very popular series of novels about vampires and werewolves being one clear example.  However, after catching a glimpse of who was involved with the comic, I knew that there really must be something to this novel I had seen.

So I went ahead and purchased the first book in what has now become a series; Project Nemesis. I can safely say that I read that one start to finish in a day and ordered the second one while taking  food break from the first.  I have since read the sequel in a day and Have ordered the remaining novels.

project_nemesis_by_sharksden-d8t3pyt

Awesome alternate cover art for the novel version of Project Nemesis

These books and this kaiju are pretty damn awesome folks.

So lets talk about the novel. Firstly, at 288 pages it is not overly long or short, it’s a decent sized read. What makes the book a stand out for me though is the build up, and the growing momentum you can feel the farther you read into the book. I was really impressed by this because normally in this genre, the story falters when said larger monstrosity is not around to wreak havoc.  If you know a kaiju fan, you can ask them if they know the phrase “fast forward to the good bits” – they will probably laugh and tell you how the monster parts of all the old movies were great and the bits in between with the people were boring filler.

I can honestly say that Project Nemesis has the best kaiju filler material of anything I have seen or read. It is a monster and a story powered by strong character development. The reason that these sections of the book succeed is because of the main protagonists and normal way they think and react. Something I have gotten sick of is a single, male protagonist who is an expert at every form of martial arts and fells people left and right like some kind of action hero.  Project Nemesis threatened to start out like that, only our protagonist drives up to a cabin, opens the door, mistakes a sleeping mama bear for a bean back and then spends a rather humorous, if thrilling pages trying to get himself out of a mess. The next morning he is woken up by a knock on the door from the real bad ass who happens to not only be a woman, but a capable woman as well. I can safely say I was very proud of the author for not reducing her to a damsel in distress not once and for portraying her not as a one dimensional romantic object, but as a normal person who could hold her own.

The kaiju’s origin is what gives the novel its momentum, and adds a lot of the darkness and plot movement while  the creature is not on the pages.  Nemesis, as the monster is named, did not start out as a monster, she (and I also think its awesome the monster is a female) started as a murdered little girl.  The basic origin of said creature is that a biotech company is trying to come up with a way to grow human organs for transplants. Quite noble I’d say. However, when they add a little mystery DNA to the of the organs they are trying to clone….things get a bit out of hand. Of course, the company that is doing this really wasn’t all that noble, and they knew what they were injecting into said organ mix, however they did not tell the people who were actually growing the organs.  Our main protagonists, who happen to be a mix of law enforcement/government agency are just inspecting a disturbance and get pulled in at this point – and for a lot more than they bargained for.

Now I am not going to give away any more plot than I already have because when telling people about a thriller/horror with kaiju in it – what is the point of making a recommend when you give away all of the fun bits?

That said, I am going to do you a solid. After reading the book, I got in touch with two people who have helped breath some life into Nemesis. First is the author of the novels, Mr. Jeremy Robinson who was kind enough to answer some questions for The Grid about Project Nemesis the book and some of the side “Projects” that have sprung from it.

How did the concept for Project Nemesis come to your mind? Specifically, the creature’s origin?
The initial trigger for creating Project Nemesis came about when my editor, who knows how much I enjoy kaiju stories, asked me, “What haven’t you written a kaiju novel yet?” My response was basically, “Uhhhhhh,” and then I started working on it. The rest of it is kind of a merger of elements. I wanted the story to take place somewhere new for a kaiju, so I put it in my backyard, literally (the FC-P Crow’s Nest is located in my childhood neighborhood). I wanted the monster to stand out visually, so I included the glowing membranes and hired Matt Frank to flesh out the design I’d written in words. As for the creature’s origin, that’s one of those weird elements that comes out of the creative ether. I close my eyes and let my imagination run. I came up with a bunch of origins that didn’t work (and I don’t remember) and then the idea of having the creature be spawned, in part, from the DNA of a murdered little girl. It’s a horrible thing, but I knew it was right as soon as it entered my head. I then researched gods of vengeance, found Nemesis, and that’s when it all came together.

The pacing of the story in my humble opinion is well done, it does not go from zero to apocalypse in 2-3 chapters, there is a steady build that comprises most of the story. Was this a deliberate choice, or did it just flow out that way?
Most of my novels move at the same kind of pace. It’s something I’m well known for and have honed over the 30ish novels I wrote before Project Nemesis. Fast pacing was something I worked on for years. It’s a tricky balance to keep things fast, but also let readers get to know the characters. But I’ve been doing it long enough now that the pacing just flows. I don’t really have to think about it anymore. It’s more like instinct.

Let's just say the sequel has a "go big or go home" mentality.

Let’s just say the sequel has a “go big or go home” mentality.

Stemming off of my last question, was the origin the majority of the story because you already knew you would be writing more than one book?
I knew I wanted to write more than one story, but I had no idea how people would respond to a kaiju thriller, which didn’t

exist before Nemesis. Yes, there were a handful of Godzilla novels in the 90s, but they weren’t exactly thrillers (with that pacing you mentioned). So when I wrote Nemesis, I didn’t know it would become a five novel epic. I ended the first book in a way that could have stood on its own or lead into a sequel. To my great delight, Nemesis was a fantastic success worthy of multiple sequels, a video game and a comic book. I’ve currently writing the fifth and final Nemesis book, and am still having a blast.

So you make it perfectly obvious that you are an avid kaiju fan. What is your favorite kaiju film and why?
It’s always hard for me to pick a favorite. I have different favorites for different reasons. My top pick from childhood is Godzilla V. Megalon, with Gigan and Jet Jaguar. You can see the influence that movie had on me in Project Hyperion. As an adult, I’ve always had a soft spot for Godzilla 2000, not just because it’s a really good Godzilla flick, but also because it’s the only Toho Godzilla movie I saw in a movie theater. I’m also a really big fan of all three Gamera movies, and prefer them over most Godzilla movies, aside from the two I mentioned.

What got you started in the kaiju genre?
Like most nerdy kids growing up during the 80s in New England, I spent Saturday mornings watching a TV show called Creature Double Feature. Project Nemesis is dedicated to the show. Every Saturday (after watching Force Five, The Herculoids and Thundaar the Barbarian) I would watch whatever monster movies were playing, which more often than not, included Godzilla. I sat on the living room floor, eating Cocoa Pebbles at the coffee table and drawing Godzilla, Harryhousen monsters and my own creations. It’s probably a weird thing to say, but these memories of being creative while watching monster movies, are some of my fondest childhood memories, and kaiju were a big part of that.

Now the first novel has been translated into comic form, can you tell us a bit about that process? What was the biggest change between that and the novel?
The good news is that I wrote the comic book so the tone and voices of the characters are the same, as is the crux of the story. All of the important stuff is there. But you can’t make a six issue comic book out of a 300 page novel without cropping stuff. Most people notice that the bear scene near the beginning of the novel is missing*, but it’s still alluded to. Other than that, the comic is mostly missing details from certain scenes that had to be compressed. The history of the Crow’s Nest. The history of Truck Betty. Mostly background type stuff, and action that is good fun, but not integral to the plot. The biggest challenge was deciding what to cut. I wrote longer versions of each script and then went through them all, hacking them down to 22 pages each. It’s never easy to cut stuff (I rarely have to do it in a novel) but the end result was fantastic, so I got over it.

* Joe from The Grid here….the bear scene is hilarious and awesome, but only readers of the novel get to know why

Ok, a potential spoiler, in the first novel, what was the most fun part to write?
The most fun, well that would be just about any time Jon Hudson opens his mouth. He’s sarcastic and says what he thinks most of the time. He’s also verbally creative, so I had a great time coming up with creative insults and phrasing. And I think his voice is what keeps the book fun. Nemesis is a tragic story. It’s dark and twisted. And without Hudson, it could have been a really depressing read. But Hudson brings the fun to any situation, so I really enjoyed writing him. Answered without a spoiler!

Jeremy and I carried on a conversation as I read the sequel, and as a recommendation for anyone who reads the first book and wants to jump to the second, you may be better reading his other novel, Island 731 before continuing to Project Maigo, the direct sequel to Project Nemesis. It will not hurt you if you jump straight to the sequel, but you may have even more fun with it if you already know some of the other characters that are brought in ahead of time.

The other person that I spoke to was the ever awesome and all around artist spectacular, Mr. Matt Frank. Matt had the job of fleshing Nemesis out as a monster based on Jeremy’s descriptions. He is also the artist for all of the interiors of American Gothic Press’ Project Nemesis comic. The comic itself is a slightly shortened version of the novel, but having been able to see a few panels, I can tell you that no punches are being pulled when it comes to the horror or darkness found within the pages of the novel.

I asked Matt to sit down and pull some of his favorite pages that he did for the Project Nemesis comic and explain why he enjoyed these scenes so much. So without further adieu, Matt’s choice picks from the series:

project_nemesis__1_pg_1_by_kaijusamurai-d9av8qv

This page is a great example of collaboration. Jeremy and I went back-and-forth on this scene a few times, Originally I believe he wanted it to be the entire scene of Maigo’s murder from the book, but I suggested that we keep it short, simple, and shocking. A slow reveal of the catalyzing moment for the entire story. Jeremy then put the Nemesis mythological quote over it, and the page just sings as a result. Diego’s colors are on-point here as well.

project_nemesis__1_pg3_by_kaijusamurai-d9av8rt

Diego’s colors really bring this one together. it’s a fantastic compliment to the cool colors of the previous page, and I’m particularly proud of how my lines on panel 4 beautifully dance with Diego’s soft reds. It’s a great “DAMN” moment.

project_nemesis__5_page_4_by_kaijusamurai-da218mt

Out of all of the books this is probably my favorite splash page of Nemmy (notice how all of my favs are near-full-splashes?) I was really just having a ton of fun with her anatomy here, trying some new poses and positions throughout the book, and this one caught my eye. It’s funny how an artist can look at his old work and say “Oh, did I draw that?!”

Now, as if Matt’s inside panels weren’t enough of a treat, the real comic collectors out there can hunt down and collect alternative covers done by the legendary science fiction illustrator, Bob Eggleton. I have attached my personal favorite cover that he has done below.

ProjectNemesis bob

So for those of you who would like a summer read that breaks the mold, and also gives you something to move onto once you have finished the first novel, I recommend Project Nemesis as a stand out option. It takes the genre to places it hasn’t really strayed conformable into before, and gives fan service to everyone already familiar with what kaiju have to offer.

Project Nemesis and the three novels continuing the story, Project Maigo, Project 731, and Project Hyperion are available now, you can find them quite easily on Amazon.com. The fifth and final novel in the story, Project Legion, will be available in October. For even more kaiju thrillers from Jeremy Robinson, be sure to check out his newest kaiju thriller, Apocalypse Machine, and the upcoming new kaiju series, Unity (available in July). To stay up to date, with all of his projects, visit his website at: bewareofmonsters.com and subscribe to the newsletter. Jeremy was also kind enough to let me know that while the comics run for Project Nemesis is wrapping up, a collected trade paperback by American Gothic Press will be released sometime now and the end of September – so look out for that if you want to get the story and Matt’s amazing art as well.

For those of you who are fans of Matt Frank, you can visit his site at www.mattfrankart.com  and see some of the amazing art that he has done for other projects.

Now obviously you are going to read the books and the comic, who wouldn’t after a shout out like that!? But what we would really like to know, once you have read the books, seen the comic….is do you want to see a film version come to life?

Otherwise give us a shout and say what you enjoyed most from reading either the novel or the comic!

Project Nemesis: The Next Big Thing

X-Men: Apocalypse – A Spoiler Free Review

Friday saw the release of Fox’s newest addition to the X-Men world: X-Men: Apocalypse starring James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, and Jennifer Lawrence.  Estimated to pull in $65 million this weekend, it undoubtedly was the number one movie.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean it was a good one. Now, I’m a cynical person and the X-Men have always been near and dear to me, so I am biased about their films. I admit that.  I also admit that if it were up to me, I’d redo every single X-Men film that’s been released so far.  Why is that? Well, it’s a story for another day.  For now, I’ll go through the good and the bad of X-Men Apocalypse avoiding spoilers.

X-Men: Apocalypse – The Good

X-Men: Apocalypse continues to stun with its superb casting.  Sophie Turner, who plays young Jean Grey, manages to stand out and hold her own among a star-studded group.  Her portrayal of Jean Grey was, overall, much better than Famke Janssen’s as she was able to be confident and strong while fighting the overwhelming immense powers she has, where as Janssen’s portrayal came off skittish and frightened. While completely under utilized, both Olivia Munn and Alexandra Shipp did incredibly well as Psylocke and Storm, respectively. Mystique shined. Saying goodbye to Jennifer Lawrence will be very difficult after this. She turned a very forgettable character from the original trilogy into the unexpected hero of the new franchise.

X-Men: Apocalypse New Mutants

The special effects throw me off because at times they were brilliant, and others, they were lackluster and disappointing. The follow up to the now infamous Quicksilver scene from X-Men: Days of Future Past was a prime example. When it began it was unbelievable, beautifully directed even if his powers were exaggerated, but by the time it was over, the special effects look sloppy.  Angel had a fantastic scene where his metal wings were implanted and Nightcrawler’s powers were identical to those in X2: X-Men United.

X-Men: Apocalypse – The Bad

I have to admit, ultimately, I was pretty bored throughout the whole movie. It’s been a long time since I was that disinterested.  The movie just never hooked me.  It began in an elaborate scene that held no interest for me considering I was pretty unaware of most of the characters. I think the mystery of Apocalypse in the comics was part of his appeal, but with his whole background laid out in the movie and his grossly over-powered mutant abilities ruined a lot of my investment in the film.  When you name your film after a character, I expect that character to be amazing.

X-Men: Apocalypse with Storm and Psylocke

Also, can we please decide if Magneto is a bad guy or a good guy? I know he flips sometimes, but never multiple times in the same story. I prefer the later comic stories where he attempts to do the right thing by the wrong methods.  I completely understand they want the juxtaposition of Professor X and Magneto, but if they wanted it that much, they wouldn’t be so focused on their impossible friendship.  It’s unnecessary drama.

Lastly, once again, a female character gets almost completely cut from the film. Poor Jubilee; at least she had a fantastic line defending Empire Strikes Back.

X-Men: Apocalypse Michael Fassbender

Overall

This movie definitely didn’t live up to the last two, which they ironically tried to joke about, funny enough. It is, however, a great jumping off point for Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, and Alexandra Shipp to take over the series. The costuming was impressive but confusing. While the street clothes definitely conveyed the 80’s, the uniforms looked more sophisticated than the “future” films with the original cast. Unfortunately, there’s too many inconsistencies with the X-Men timeline for me to think too much on it.

I give it a 3\5 saucers.

The Grid Rating Saucer 3

 

 

 

As with all movies, I suggest you go watch it on your own. I’m sure you’ll disagree with me.

Check out a detailed rating below and if you’ve seen it, let’s us know your thoughts in the comments below!

X-Men: Apocalypse – A Spoiler Free Review

Captain America: Civil War – A Spoiler Free Review

I have been looking forward to Captain America: Civil War since it was announced in 2014.  It stands as my favorite comic book story line in the last 20 years.  Needless to say, a lot was riding on this for me.  And overall, I wasn’t disappointed. The problem was I wasn’t over elated. I didn’t give it applause after and I didn’t leave that theater eager to see it again.  I was genuinely concerned, though, for the well-being of my favorite characters in comic book history.  Before I delve into it anymore, I’ll break down the good and the bad for you.

 

The Good

Every action sequence is incredibly on point.  It is obvious that each character has their own unique fighting style because each person gets their time to shine, more or less, which hasn’t always been the case of Marvel ensemble movies in the past. While I won’t go into any specific details, Winter Soldier, Ant-Man, and Scarlet Witch do not disappoint.

The women of Captain America: Civil War are not forgotten. It’s been a very long road of asking for more Black Widow to actually seeing her at her best, and this is it. She’s strong, educated, sassy, and a true friend to her fellow Avengers.  Wanda was also given an emotionally driven story arc, which was a huge part of the heart of the film (although, weirdly, no mention of her dead brother.)

That being said, the men don’t let down either. Sam Wilson’s increased character brought a definition of a true friend to the picture.  While Captain America is fighting for Bucky the entire time, he does miss out on some of the loyalty of Falcon.  He was honestly one of the highlights. The first appearance of Black Panther was, honestly, my favorite part of the film. He wasn’t treated as a throw away addition to the team, but given his own motivation as well as taking care of his origin story in the first hour so that the official Black Panther film can be a continuation of the character already.Captain America: Civil War Fiight

Lastly, the acknowledgment of the missing Hulk and Thor was superbly well done. It’s not a giant focus, but it’s just impressive how clever it was.

 

The Bad (yes, there was some bad; deal with it)

Sadly, Spider-Man was not my favorite.  It was painfully obvious he was a last minute addition that they actually had to squeeze into the lineups and action scenes.  He only talked to a few characters! I’m not saying the CGI to render him wasn’t impressive, but I really would have liked to see him more planned out and not such an afterthought. I know what you’re going to say, they do what they can with the licensing they can. And I’m aware of this, but his introduction to the world could have been done a bit better; I know it.  That being said, Tom Holland will be a great Spider-Man.

The overall tone of the film was just sad. There was some great jokes, and Marvel avoided the gritty tone that takes over so many films today, but it was a legitimately depressing film. I don’t know what I was expecting with Civil War, but it wasn’t this. I was anxious for death in every scene. I was surprised by some of the brutality by these characters.  I didn’t know where it was going, and I was truly scared. I had never felt like that in a Marvel film before.Captain America: Civil War Cap v Iron Man

Lastly, Iron Man and Captain America were easily mishandled. Choose Team Cap or Team Iron Man; it doesn’t matter. Both tread the line of good and selfish. Despite what others say, neither is a true hero. They get in their own way. They’re blinded by their own arguments that, to use a phrase used in the film, catastrophe easily ensues. Now that’s expected in a good war story, and flaws in everyone are important, but we’ve held these guys to such high standards before, I don’t see why we have to give them a pass now. I’m hoping that future films can redeem both Avengers for me.

I’ve seen a lot of people give this film the highest possible rating they can, and I find that difficult to accept because of what Marvel has done before. It’s important to still be critical of what is produced so we can continue to appreciate the amazing. We’ve been so spoiled by Marvel in the past that it’s easy to forget films like Iron Man 2. Civil War is good, still one of the better Marvel films. It is not, however, without flaws. That being said, I will go see it again and I am so looking forward to Dr. Strange.

Rating Saucers 4.5 out of 5

 

 

I give Captain America: Civil War 4 UFOs out of 5.

The film officially releases in North America on May 6th, 2016.

Captain America: Civil War – A Spoiler Free Review

Disney’s The Jungle Book – Spoiler-Free Review

The Jungle Book, for me it’s an animated film Disney put out way back in 1967 but the powers that be have decided to change all this with two new live action feature films from competing companies. You see, Disney and Warner Bros. don’t have enough to battle over with their comic book genre films, so now we have The Jungle Book from Disney which hits theaters this Friday, April 15th in North America and Warner Bros. Jungle Book: Origins (though IMDB drops the “Origins” part of the title) set to drop in October 2018. I want to explain this so there is no confusion because the stories are different, the casts are different, the movies are different. Warner Bros’ film will star Christian Bale (Bagheera), Benedict Cumberbatch (Shere Khan), Cate Blanchett (Kaa), Andy Serkis (Baloo), and Roham Chand (Mowgli). To contrast, this year’s Disney version stars Ben Kingsley (Bagheera), Idris Elba (Shere Khan), Scarlett Johansson (Kaa), Bill Murray (Baloo), and Neel Sethi (Mowgli) with Lupita Nyong’o (Raksha), Giancarlo Esposito (Akela), and Christopher Walken (King Louie). With well over two years before we see WB’s incarnation, I expect more roles to be filled but for now, these are the primary casts.

So let’s talk about The Jungle Book from Disney. I was able to catch an early screening Monday night in 3D. My goal here is to talk about overall quality and expectations you should have going into the movie and will avoid spoilers. Things that have been shown in trailers\previews might get mentioned though, so you’ve been warned.

The Jungle Book - Shere Khan and Idris Elba

Visuals

As I noted, I saw The Jungle Book in 3D. I felt that overall, the 3D experience was solid and less gimmicky than most. That is not to say it’s without gimmick but for the most part, it was immersive and sharp. I enjoyed the extra sense of depth it provided and it reminded me of the ways Avatar used 3D a while back. Now, the 3D does fail during major scenes of movement and action. There are two scenes in particular that I am thinking of, one involving Mowgli running and another involving a lot of primates. In both cases, the CGI lost its crisp realistic style and the 3D lost its immersive sense. The former scene even included one of my pet peeves which is when water is splashed and it hits the camera lens like we are watching the movie through a window. This bothers me in 2D films but when the goal is a 3D experience that feels immersive and includes depth… why would you put a window in front of me? It seems counter-intuitive. The primate scene in question made me think of the barrel scene in The Hobbit, though this one is not nearly as bad.

The CGI in general was stellar. I felt that the animals consistently looked realistic and even moved as such. Even though the animals can talk, they are not overly anthropromophized. They are just animals that we happen to be able to understand. I never felt that the animals were poorly done and the CGI weaknesses in the two scenes I noted might have been unique to the 3D experience. I intend to see the movie again in 2D, so I’m looking forward to comparing.

The Jungle Book - Kaa

Casting

The cast is nearly perfect. Bill Murray, of course, nails Baloo but no one is surprised at this. I love Bill Murray and will watch just about anything he is in but this character isn’t much of a stretch for him, though I’m not complaining. Idris Elba is a fearsome, intense Shere Khan and I can’t imagine Benedict Cumberbatch getting close to matching Idris’ presence. I think my favorite scene is actually Scarlett Johansson’s Kaa. Though short, the scene is powerful, intense, creepy, and the voice work is great. She’s perfect for the role and I’m glad they went in the direction they did with the character. Everyone else did a great job. Bagheera, Raksha, and Akela are not in the film as much as I would have liked but then again, the wolves don’t have anywhere near as much of a presence in the original animated film, so I should be grateful. Neel Sethi as Mowgli is fine but fairly forgettable. It’s his first role and is credited as an introduction, so I am not going to be overly critical here. He’s young and inexperienced, so I look forward to seeing his future roles.

The only issue I take with casting is Christopher Walken as King Louie. It just doesn’t work. While I loved him in various roles like Pulp Fiction or even Click, he does not work as King Louie. His voice is too Walken-esque. The character’s song isn’t even a song in this incarnation because Walken isn’t really going to sing, so he speaks it. It just doesn’t work. He’s not intimidating, he’s not threatening and the voice does not match the visual of the character.

The Jungle Book - King Louie

The Jungle Book: Conclusions

The Jungle Book is a great live action adaptation of the original story that, if memory serves me, stays true at least to the major components while expanding on some in ways to enhance the story. The special effects are realistic, accurate, and impressive throughout most of the film while the voice cast is nearly perfect. I think the film suffers from two primary issues, the push of 3D and the star-studded cast. 3D can be fun but it’s usually completely unnecessary and I think this is an example of that. The 3D gets in the way, lowers CGI quality, and becomes distracting or completely forgettable. The all-star cast is a lot of fun but also distracting because you know Bill Murray is the bear and Scarlett Johansson is the snake. It pulls you out of the experience at times.

Overall, I give the film 3.5\5 UFOs. It’s a good movie and better than I expected for a live action interpretation but there is room for improvement.

The Grid Rating Saucer 3.5

 

 

 

Are you looking forward to The Jungle Book? Have you seen it yet? Comment below!

Disney’s The Jungle Book – Spoiler-Free Review

Hardcore Henry – A Hardcore Review

Hardcore Henry brings many thrills, some really great, and others not so much. If you are looking for a non-stop, over the top action movie Hardcore Henry will not disappoint. If you value compelling characters or a slightly believable plot, I wouldn’t recommend spending the $10 to see this movie. Wait for it to come out on Redbox.

While we can appreciate the artistic approach, Hardcore Henry is a fun one-time novelty. Call of Duty is a game, not a movie. Now down to some details but don’t worry, no spoilers. Jump the image below for The Good and The Bad.

Hardcore Henry Still

Hardcore Henry’s Good

Overall Film Quality and Visuals:

  • First person view adds stakes and terrifying falls
  • Creative deaths
  • Played Queen “Don’t Stop Me Now”
  • Large variety of weapon usage including a Gatling gun

Narrative:

  • Honorable Mention – written for the effects and immersive experience

Hardcore Henry Wide Poster

Hardcore Henry’s Bad

Overall Film Quality and Visuals:

  • Loss of view with fast motion scenes
  • Motion sickness is inevitable
  • Some scenes are directly from a Call of Duty game

Narrative:

  • Little to no attachment to the characters
  • Over-acting
  • Foreseeable plot twists
  • The “Boss Fight” falls flat
  • No clear motive
  • Random musical number
  • Some characters existed simply so they could be killed

 

I give this film 2.5 UFO’s out of 5.

The Grid Rating Saucer 2.5

 

 

Have you seen the first big screen first-person only film, Hardcore Henry? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Hardcore Henry – A Hardcore Review

Criminal Movie: A Review

Criminal Review

I’d like to start this review by saying the movie Criminal is complicated, to say the least. It almost feels like a few movies put together.
I really wanted to like it from the beginning.
That being the case, I’ve split this review into different parts;
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

The Good:
This movie has one of the most original premises I’ve seen in a while. Essentially, imagine an evil version of Billy Bob Thornton from Sling Blade wakes up with the memories of Jason Bourne. Would he still be evil? This premise kept me in my seat.
This movie has the largest assortment of actors who have been in comic book movies this side of an X-men sequel. Kevin Costner, Tommy Lee Jones, Gal Gadot, and Gary Oldman. And, those are just the ones on the poster. Needless to say, their acting is superb, they totally embodied the characters that they portrayed.

 

The Bad:
Where should I start? Criminal starts with a LOT of jump cuts from city to city, person to person. It’s kind of a spy thriller so it makes sense, but, you really need to pay attention to what is going on.  One of the most interesting characters is killed off in the first half of the movie, which I thought was a poor choice, as far as story is concerned. The main character, played by Kevin Costner, is not a likable guy. He does some stuff at the beginning of the movie that almost had me walking out, almost. Throughout the movie, his character changes immensely, but, it’s still unnerving.
There is a little girl who accepts this character almost immediately, which is also unnerving, as she has no idea who he is, and her mother has absolutely no reason to trust him at all. These scenes could have been better explained, in my opinion.
Gal Gadot is not given nearly the screen time that she deserves and her character was handled poorly.

FIN02_Criminal_1Sht_Payoff_VF_s

The Ugly:
Shaky Cam, Shaky Cam everywhere. If you have trouble with this, be aware. Also, I was expecting Kevin Costner’s character to bust out some Kung Fu, or Krav Maga, but, the best we get is prison moves and brute force. Some of the more violent scenes are very graphic and can be disturbing to sensitive viewers.
In addition, there was a whole subplot about guys who could be Bond villains, computer programming, and nuclear missiles. These were wholly unnecessary in my opinion. Overall, this felt like most other recent Kevin Costner movies, such as The Postman and Waterworld, both of which I enjoy to this day, but, mainly when they are on cable. So, this movie may end up as a stocking stuffer from the bargain bin at your local Wally World.

TLDR;
If you enjoy movies with interesting plots, that are well-acted and feature some big names, Criminal is a good romp.
If you like action scenes and explosions, you will enjoy Criminal.
If you have trouble with shaky cam and you don’t enjoy hasty jump cuts, Criminal might be a movie to skip.

criminal-2016-ryan-reynolds1

Oh yeah, and Ryan Reynolds is in this movie. Who knew?

Criminal Movie: A Review

Miitomo: The Best of Social Media

Last Thursday Nintendo finally launched its new account and reward system, My Nintendo, that replaces Club Nintendo after a year hiatus. Along with this good news comes a fun little app called Miitomo. Inevitably, if you are friends with any Nintendo fans or the young at heart, you’ve likely seen an influx of Miis scattered across your social media that would rival your own Mii Plaza. I, unfortunately, will probably lose a few friends and followers by the time this particular hype train leaves the station, but I have no regrets. If you have not boarded that train, give the video above a watch to see what you’re in for and join me on this journey.

Miitomo is best described as a social media app that allows you to be the best version of yourself. You also get to post (Mii)fotos, satiate your desire to answer ALL THE QUIZZES, have a slightly repetitive time sink of a game, and be surrounded by friends who actually want to see it. For the icing on the cake, there are no ads and you get actual rewards for playing that include free games for the 3DS and useful perks for Miitomo itself. The launch video does a fantastic job of showing how to get started and some of the features. I have to admit that I am a terrible human being and take entirely too much enjoyment in making the Miis say awful things. It is truly an affliction and I just cannot help myself. Thankfully my friends have a tolerable sense of humor, or have somehow managed to exceed my own twisted thoughts. Personally, I blame Nintendo for doing such a fantastic job on text-to-speech and allowing some significant free speech (type ALL THE FOUR LETTER WORDS).

MIITOMO

Well, we do live in America.

Within about 30 minutes of answering questions and dressing my Mii up in silly things, I came to a solid theory. Miitomo seems to have drawn some of the best features of a game released two years ago called Tomodachi Life. The game itself is difficult to describe, but can be most related to a very weird voyeuristic version of The Sims. While it was repetitive and got stale quickly, the game had a unique quirky charm of being bat@#&! crazy with the most random dialogue and cut scenes. This app immediately reminded me of the good times I had in that bizarre game. I have come to the conclusion that Nintendo released Miitomo simply to record all of the weird things we say to keep their inevitable Tomodachi Life 2 fresh and exciting. I am likely very wrong, but on the slight chance that I am not, you heard the conspiracy here first, folks.

MIITOMO

This escalated quickly.

MIITOMO

#MiitomoStyle with Friends!

What about you, my fellow Nintenerds? Have you given Miitomo a shot yet? Need some random time waster in your life? I’d love to hear your thoughts on it and relish in any fun moments you’ve had in the game so far. Feel free to add Mii as a friend using the QR code!

MIITOMO

Go ahead, add Mii!

You can always contact me on Facebook and Instagram @crystalbatdesigns!

Miitomo: The Best of Social Media

Edgar Rice Burroughs and the Books That Time Forgot

I don’t feel like I read enough science fiction anymore, and it bothers me. Not all of us have the spark to want to read, and many of us had our enjoyment for the written word driven out by the mandatory reading our primary or secondary schools forced on us. That said, science fiction, in my opinion, is strongest and most fulfilling when coming from the written word.

If you go to a science fiction convention, how many characters or cosplayers are literary characters? Okay, I love comics, don’t get me wrong, but I am excluding graphic novels. I imagine you could be having trouble trying to think of someone.  This is what I am talking about when I say I know I am not reading enough, because I am just watching, or looking. Science fiction at the moment, at least to me (and disintegrate me if you think I am wrong here), seems to be focused on watching and passive participation, at least when it comes to the media we all enjoy.

Reading a book is my idea of the purest way to experience the genre. The wonderful thing about sci-fi is that it requires imagination. Sure, some of it could happen – some of it has come to pass, but at the end of the day the genre that we all know and love is based upon letting go of a little bit and embracing imaginative storytelling.  Where is the imagination in watching a science fiction movie? Sure, we can appreciate another person’s imagination, but the image, the sounds, the emotion…..we aren’t creating that with our own minds. It is just there, projected. Graphic novels are a little better, but still, the art, the expression, they are there. This is why having the right artist for the graphic novel is so important, because you are presenting in essence a book, but you are substituting art and another person’s imagination in place of the readers’.

Good sci-fi also has to have one thing to anchor it. Strong character development and believable characters. I would read a book about  pixies that ride cyborg rainbow farting unicorns, but without those pixies having motivation, personality, a good story arc, it just becomes crap – not something that stirs the imagination. I mean, maybe the cyborg unicorns rebel and then pixie land becomes a blood and glitter soaked apocalyptic wasteland. There is something of a struggle for a protagonist to work on.

So where is this all going in relation to my title. A while back I decided I was tired of watching movies and reading tie in books. Or reading books that are an extension of a toy or video game. I wanted to get back to the root of things. That is when I discovered Burroughs. Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Burroughs wrote several books and if you have not in some way come across one of them, you have been living under a rock. Any of you that saw Batman V Superman have.  And I bet I am about to blow your mind – his works inspired Superman, and that trailer for the Legend of Tarzan….guess who wrote Tarzan? He also wrote The Land That Time Forgot as well. If this hasn’t piqued your interest or sent you to Wikipedia already then keep reading.

I love adventure stories, especially ones in a science fiction setting and even more so if they throw in a dash of romance. Ok, maybe not a dash of romance, a lot of romance. E.R.B. essentially wrote romantic novels for boys and men and wrapped them in stirring adventure.

While it could be argued that Tarzan of the Apes could be his most well known character, I will argue that The Princess of Mars has had the biggest impact on the genre of science fiction. So what is this book about, and why is it so important in science fiction?

Well for starters, there is a princess of Mars, but she is not the protagonist, although she is an interesting character in the book. The main character is actually a man from Earth named John Carter. Now if you know your sci-fi, you will know a few years ago that Disney had a financially disappointing outing trying to make this book into a live action film, basing its name on that of the main character. Love the film or hate it, it shouldn’t influence a decision to read the book.Princess_of_Mars_original cover

 

In the book, John Carter is a man looking to put his past behind him. He was on the losing side of the Civil War in the US and had gone out West to seek his fortune and a fresh start. Along the way he is transmitted to Mars by alien technology and has to make the most of the situation. Luckily for John, having just survived a war he can hold his own among the war-band tribes of Mars. The fun thing is though, since he is from Earth, which has a higher gravity, John is tougher than his new found companions in many respects. This is where the inspiration for Superman comes from, and one of the most direct connections between the two characters is their ability to jump great distances. Fun fact for those of you who are not Superman fans, Superman originally couldn’t fly. He could only jump long distances. He was also an alien stranger that came to a new planet.  But I digress. john carterr

To be frank, Princess of Mars really held my attention, and one of the reasons it did so was because of the princess herself. This woman is not helpless, and is a warrior scholar in her own right. The romance between her and John is great, as it is a nice slow burn, and it is done tastefully, she doesn’t just fall into his arms. If you have seen the film John Carter that Disney made, you may notice that the Princess Dejah Thoris doesn’t really follow the typical Disney Princess formula.

Then there is the action. Pulp fiction has some of the best action, and Burroughs arguably did the best job of describing and choreographing action sequences. He did just enough to describe the fights while leaving a bit open to the imagination. The perfect mix of knowing what was happening but not knowing who would come out on top.

If you get the chance, A Princess of Mars is actually in the public domain, so you can either pay to read it, or in some cases find a free copy online. Gotta love that!

So now that I have touched on A Princess of Mars, it is time to head back to Earth to a meet a rather famous literary character. Tarzan of the Apes.

tarzan original cover

Tarzan is the character that made Burroughs famous, and he milked the character to death. Even today, most people know who Tarzan is before they reach the age of 8 years old. The character is iconic, as is his partner Jane. Admit it, the famous line “Me Tarzan, You Jane” came into your mind as you were reading that. Surprise….that’s not how it actually goes in the book, and Tarzan, he’s pretty smart.

Tarzan of the Apes is such a famous story, most people think that they know it and never give the book a chance. Huge mistake. Massive.

To tell a personal secret, I am a huge romantic. If there isn’t a good love story to attach to the main character, I can lose patience. Tarzan pays off. Probably 3/4 of the story is jungle man growing up in the jungle and becoming lord of the apes. The last quarter of the novel is probably one of the more passionate love stories I have read, but it has one of those endings that just leaves you screaming for the next book. I won’t spoil it for you, but you really need to read the book because to my knowledge no movie, comic etc has actually followed the original plot because it just has THAT ENDING.

If you decide to read Tarzan, do yourself a favor and buy the sequel when you buy the first. You’ll understand once you have read it.

tarzan vs kerchak by mandy kart

So those are two of Burroughs’ better known and influential works, but I am going to throw in a third and personal favorite: The Land That Time Forgot. This book has flippn’ everything. World War 1, German submarines, dinosaurs, fantastic islands…it’s epic – and naturally, there is a romance as well.

I really do not want to describe what is in this book, because it takes so many unexpected turns. Obviously, the characters end up in a land that time forgot, but how they get there is half the fun. When they get there…that is great, and the island has a secret that isn’t just dinosaurs, it goes deeper than that. The good Mr. Burroughs essentially took what Mr. Doyle (The Lost World) had done and gave it action, romance and mystery rather than just make up a story about an expedition that had some hard times.

Edgar Rice Burroughs - Sea Monster

If you have read this far, hopefully I have stirred some interest in some books from a bygone era of science fiction. From a time before super heroes or special gadgets. Back when the stories were utterly fantastic and the characters were deeply developed, so much so that you feel like you know them, that you are them. I believe that by reading true classics that a deeper appreciation of what good science fiction and adventure is, and by doing this we can begin to hold the genre to the standard that it set all of those years ago. It also opens up the door to other incredible works like Frank Herbert’s Dune series, Asimov’s Foundation trilogy – there are so many great stories out there.

So how about you, have you read any of Burroughs’ books? Is there a work of science fiction that you have read that inspired you and developed your love for the genre? Let us know in the comments below!

Edgar Rice Burroughs and the Books That Time Forgot

Batman V Superman: Spoiler Free Review

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has been one of the most anticipated films of the new century, if you didn’t already know. Why? Because so much hangs on this one movie. For years now, DC Entertainment and Warner Bros have tried to create an interwoven universe of their heroes, similar to the Marvel and Star Wars franchises.  However, they were derailed by the shortcomings of Green Lantern and The Dark Knight Rises, not to mention the unwillingness of both Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale to continue what they’ve built.  The movie has been put against impossible odds, which has, unfortunately jilted many opinions without ever seeing the film.

Truth be told, no one is ever going to recreate magic. As fans, we latch on to certain art that inspires us to be better people. At no point in time has lightning struck twice.  We love Harry Potter, so why would we love Beautiful Creatures? That’s not how this works with Marvel and DC, though.  The MCU has produced 13 films since 2008, not all of them good, by the way, and continue strong. The DCEU only has two under its belt. It’s working to create its own magic in its own unique way. Stop comparing the two companies right now. I promise that if every comic/cinema/superhero fan continues to do that, both companies will cease to be successful.

Why do I digress so much? Wasn’t this a review? Yes it is. I digress because as of now Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice has received such terrible critical reviews that it seems personal. From the beginning, this movie has been faced with ridiculous adversity that it truly feels as if it is a critical attack against the film. Why don’t people want this to succeed? Because it’s not how they would do it? Because they have an idea of what a superhero film should be and that’s how all of them should be? Well, that’s not how things work.

I loved the movie. And I was a staunch anti-Batfleck advocate. This was not how I would have done a Justice League film. At no point, though, did that make it a bad movie. If I can get over that, so can you.

Your Grid Daily writers saw the film Wednesday evening and it affected us very differently, so you are going to get three mini reviews from three different people who all enjoyed the film differently.

Batman v Superman: Trinity Character Posters

Derreck’s Batman v Superman Review

It’s dark, it’s gritty, and it’s intense. BvS takes the lead of films like The Dark Knight and Synder’s own Watchmen. As many know, it takes a lot from Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns. This is not just from the design of the Batman mech suit. The entire tone of Batman and Bruce Wayne is inspired by Frank Miller’s work. This is an older, more brutal Dark Knight and it shows in nearly ever scene. Ben Affleck does a superb job throughout and quickly became my favorite live action incarnation of Batman. Gal Gadot is intelligent, smooth, confident, and outright fierce. When she isn’t taking up the sword, she is keeping one step… or maybe three, ahead of everyone else. When she is in full gear with sword and shield, she becomes an exhilarating force that took more joy out of battle than her titular counterparts.

This is not the early 2000s Justice League cartoon. It’s not bright and funny; it’s dark and gritty but that’s okay. If gods came to Earth and started crushing cities, things would seem pretty grim and there wouldn’t be a whole lot of joking around. I urge you to not only see this film but do so with an open mind and an understanding that it is trying to do something different, something fresh, and it’s doing it with three of the most iconic superheroes of all time: Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, the Trinity.

Overall, the movie is building to so much. A lot of time is taken to build the DCEU (DC Extended Universe) since their approach is essentially the opposite of the MCU. BvS is part Man of Steel sequel, part companion story and it lays the seeds for nearly all future DCEU films. With that in mind, I think it’s very important that people go to see this movie. Batman v Superman is the beginning of the DCEU. Man of Steel opened the door but Batman v Superman took the first steps toward building this universe. I can’t wait to see the rest of the films.

On a final note, if you have not seen Man of Steel or if it has been a very long time, you should probably watch it (again). A lot of the beginning of BvS takes part during that film and the whole movie is essentially a response to those events.

Batman v Superman: Ben Affleck Batman

Rae’s Batman v Superman Review

I loved this film. It was definitely one of the better superhero movies I’ve seen in awhile. I say that because I wasn’t expecting any of it.  Every bit of it was a new take on the Trinity for me, which was ultimately refreshing. It’s not every day someone can show me a new incarnation of Batman. But that’s what DC has always been; reinventions of the same characters for years, proving that everyone has built these characters, from writers, to directors, to actors, to fans.

Jesse Eisenberg was a complete surprise for me. His spastic portrayal of Lex showed layers of his psychoticism peel away as the movie went on. He was a Lex that was worthy of being a Superman villain, unlike some of his predecessors. I rather enjoyed how his brilliance and craze overlapped into a well developed character. Ben Affleck as Batman is still not my favorite Batman, but he’s the only Batman who has been a detective since Adam West. That alone was enough to get me on his side. His relationship with Alfred was another surprising move. Arguably, the two were the closest that I’ve seen to an accurate portrayal of the comic book characters, including the animated series.

I was never convinced that the movie was going to be bad. And it wasn’t. The choppy ADHD beginning was the Snyder way of getting 75 years worth of exposition for these four characters (I’m including Lex in with the Trinity) out of the way. So, there was a few stylistic choices I would have done differently, but overall the movie makes me entirely too excited for the continuations.

Batman v Superman: Gal Gadot Wonder Woman

Ryan’s Batman v Superman Review

This movie was good.  Better than the reviews would lead you to believe, but probably not as good as what you want it to be.  It has a lot of issues, the main one being the amount of story lines that they try and follow, most fairly unsuccessfully.  You have the Batman introduction story, Superman dealing with the repercussions of Man of Steel, the actual Batman V Superman story, the setup for the other characters in Justice league, Setup for the Wonder Woman movie, and the titular dawn of the Justice League.  That isn’t even touching on the movie’s villain stories.

The movie could have shaved off 30-40 minutes of the excess small story lines, and it would have helped it feel less bloated and jumpy.  The cuts between the scenes in the first hour or so of the movie felt like Zach Snyder forgot his ADHD medication on editing day.  That covers the majority of the bad for me.

With all the bad things out of the way, there were some good things.  Some of those things delve into spoiler territory, so I won’t cover those now.  The casting was great.  I had some doubts with Gal as Wonder Woman, but she was great.  She stole every scene she was in, and her character was handled brilliantly in the short amount of screen time she received.  Zach Snyder has a lot of issues that plague all his films, but the movie was beautifully cinematic.  A true feast for the eyes.

If you liked Man of Steel you will love this movie.  If you didn’t like MOS, you probably won’t enjoy this movie as much as I did.  Either way, I recommend avoiding spoilers, as well as going in without preconceived notions of what the movie is.  Forget all the negative reviews, walk in the theater, and have some comic book style fun.

Justice League

What did you think of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice? Did it live up to your expectations? What would you like to see in future DCEU films? Comment below!

Be sure to catch all three of us on Wednesday for Screen Heroes! We’ll be talking about this movie in great detail with lots of spoilers. So stay tuned and subscribe on iTunes at screen-heroes.com!

Batman V Superman: Spoiler Free Review

Dead Drift: The Indie Spotlight

Today we turn our indie spotlight to web show Dead Drift. You should give it a watch by clicking here. It’s a short little five minute episode kinda thing that shouldn’t take too much of your time.  Dead Drift is a futuristic sci-fi take on The Office style of comedy that pits three crew members in a interstellar mission where things, well … uhmmm, they get a little weird.

The show consist of short 5 minute episodes with interactions between Captain Ryland Banks and Technician Maurice Morris. In between the conversations or short little asides, the characters break the fourth wall and talk directly to the viewer, much in the way that is seen on The Office.

Described as a screwball buddy comedy Dead Drift is pretty darn funny. Having Technician Morris squaring off with Captain Morris is hilariously done and well acted. I couldn’t help but to chuckle at Star Trek references but what is so funny is that the two man crew is so incompetent. We all have a picture in our head of NASA sending the best and brightest out there but these two are not it. Morris is a insubordinate and a malcontent who has contempt for his Captain. Captain Morris on the other almost graduated West Point and can’t help but to be anything but inspire leadership, Captain Picard he is not.

Banks

Almost Graduated West Point

Morris

Sending Sass Your Way

HANNAH

The Only Competent Crew Member

One scene in particular has the Captain trying to get a replicator to make him, tea, earl grey, hot, and is too incompetent to figure out the device. When he called Morris to correct the problem the technician gives him sass and says holding up a induction clamp voltmeter “I’ll just use my tricorder and run a level 3 diagnostic.” Just about any Trekkie would recognize a level 3 diagnostic. In another scene, Morris runs out of toilet paper and decides to use a technical manual to finish his business and some how manages to use it despite it actually being a tablet. Who says eBooks will replace paper print anyways?

The screwball crew is eventual joined by a sexy and competent AI named H.A.N.N.A.H. Playing the role of the comedic “straight man”, her character does a great job of punting joke set ups to Morris and Banks. And as you might imagine Hannah’s perfect capabilities make these two slobs look even worse.

 

Dead Drift Clones

Attack Of The Clones

There short mission takes them to their first port of call to visit a Mars station where a German Commander named Schneider has is dead wife cloned, multiple times… things get weird for Morris and Banks.

Schneider

You Better Believe German Accents Can Be Funny !!

On the whole, this is great little show, funny, crisp, and sharp in its unique sci-fi brand of comedy. Every episode comes in at just under 5 minuets so it makes it easy to watch either on the go or in that short break between tasks. Dead Drift is a great sci-fi show that deserves to be given a chance to entertain you, if even for a few minutes. Check out there website and check out what they accomplished here.

Have you watched any of Dead Drift yet? Comment below with your thoughts on the series!

Dead Drift: The Indie Spotlight

Allians: A New Collectible Card Game

Have you ever wanted a personalized game character? Imagine a card game where you are both player and card! The company Claimony is making that a reality with Allians. Inspired by the classic collectible card games and fantasy leagues, you can draft your team and develop their unique traits. Your team can then wage war with a dash of competitive card games and betting. Engaging in tactical battles and climbing the battle to glory! If that all seems too normal, or average, Claimony steps up the game by connecting your personal card, with your personal Steam account. The system only requires the URL for your Steam account to generate a Champion Card. By default, the card will feature your Steam ID, however, you can upload your own original artwork instead. Your Champion’s attributes are based on your Steam performance and typically range from 0 to 150. The Combat Level is an indication of the Champions overall strength. It’s derived from all attributes with extra weight to the top attribute and range from 1 to 15.

Allians from Claimony

Allians from ClaimonyPlanning: Used to reveal hidden information. Based on your efforts in Strategy and Other genres. Also influenced by Sports and Adventure games.
Endurance: Helps you withstand tough opponents. Based on your efforts in Simulation and MMO genres. Also influenced by Strategy and Racing games.
Aggression: Commonly used to overpower enemy tactics. Based on your efforts in Action and RPG genres. Also influenced by MMO and Other games.
Reflex: Helps you evade and confuse your enemies. Based on your efforts in Action and Racing genres. Also influenced by Indie and Sports games.
Luck: Lets you take advantage of your surroundings. Based on your efforts in Adventure and Indie genres. Also influenced by RPG and Simulation games.
To further personalize your Champion, you must choose from a variety of factions:
Seeker: Seeking wisdom and power through understanding the world around them.
Primal: In need of freedom and individuality through free expression and competition.
Zodiac: Mysteriously keeping secrets within their circle to outwit their enemies.
Infiltrator: Lone wolves who love to manipulate and spy on others to gain intel.
Guardian: Team players who are very protective of their allies and their reputation.

The role of factions will be made clear during the upcoming Kickstarter. The link will be provided as soon as it is available.Allians from Claimony

Check out Alliansgame.com to create your personalized card.

Have you looked into Allians? Comment below with your thoughts on the new CCG.

Allians: A New Collectible Card Game