Category

Gameora

The Lego Movie Review

By | Gameora | No Comments

“Everything is awesome”, the saying that pretty much sums up the movie and also the name of the song that will be drilled in your memory for a couple of days following a viewing of The Lego Movie.

In a metropolis city run by the corporate ruler Lord Business (Will Ferrell), the inhabitants of Bricksburg seem to be getting along just fine and dandy. But Lord Business has plans to use the malicious “Kragle” to freeze the world to his liking. The movie’s story centres around Emmet (Chris Pratt), a completely ordinary Lego minifigure who suddenly and unexpectedly gains the title of the “most extraordinary person” after finding the mysterious “piece of resistance”. Along with a team of master builders including Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks), the wizard Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman) and even Batman (Will Arnett), Emmet must go on a quest to save the world.

From a dazzling visual style and imaginative worlds to a star-studded cast and a simple but charming story, The Lego Movie sets a huge standard for movies in 2014, and not just animated ones. The Lego Movie taps into your inner child and gives you a visual feast that’ll make you say “I want to go play with Lego now”….and that’s just fine, regardless of your age.

For a movie where the characters only have 7 joints for movement, its amazing how much life they have. While animated in 3D, its clear to see the influence of stop-motion animation that many fans use with their Lego collections to make and share their stories. Even the special effects are made of Lego bricks which really adds a unique and comical style to the film.

The story is relatively simple but includes imaginative and often ludicrous scenes which will really brighten up your day. What really puts The Lego Movie on its pedestal is the genuine passion the film-makers have for Lego and this really comes across in all the gags but also the messages and heartfelt moments the movie also has.

When it comes to gags, there are far too many to count in The Lego Movie, from a wide variety of cameos from all different characters in the Lego range to jokes that can only be told through Lego, you will definitely leave the cinema with a smile on your face. Some say that The Lego Movie is just a 1-hour 20-minute advertisement and they’re not wrong, but that’s not a bad thing because you can never have enough Lego!

As a brickfilmer who uses Lego to make animations, I was chuffed to see The Lego Movie announced but I never thought it would have been as great as it was. I’m thoroughly pleased with The Lego Movie as it truly represents that a toy can be so much more than just a toy, and instead become something that represents creativity, imagination and most importantly: fun.

Saints Row IV Review

By | Gameora | No Comments

Saints Row IV is an open world action-adventure game that takes place in the fictional city of Steelport, which was introduced to us in Saints Row: The Third. This is the fourth game in the series and the first instalment under the publisher Deep Silver (after they acquired Volition, Inc. from the now bankrupt THQ).

Before Saints Row IV‘s release, it was shown in trailers that taking a step up from previous instalments with even crazier gameplay and story elements. Throughout the series, Saints Row has gone from being similarly realistic like Grand Theft Auto to utterly insane. Saints Row IV focuses on an alien invasion and involves superhero powers.

As before, the player takes control of the leader of the Third Street Saints gang who is now the president of the United States. An alien attack, headed by the alien warlord Zinyak, has the Saints captured and planet Earth blown up. Now Zinyak has placed you back into a virtual simulation Steelport where you are able to acquire superhuman powers and carry out various missions in order to try and escape.

Environment

As mentioned, the game place takes place in Steelport again. This was perhaps due to the fact that Saints Row IV is actually an extended version of cancelled DLC for Saints Row: The Third. The world is more or less exactly the same, with some additions such as some alien towers and hovering ships. Most new environments we see are used in one-off missions which take us into a separate simulation. While in the same world, we do get a new perspective of the world as most of travelling is done by flying through the area. You barely get a chance to admire the details at that speed. Overall the environments were disappointing as one of the best things about the open world is the world, and when it is reused it feels cheap. The superhero abilities also make the world feel very small as you can get from one end to the other in just a couple of minutes.
The graphics look the same as before and while they aren’t bad, they don’t bring anything new.

Controls

The driving and shooting mechanics are pretty much the same as the last game. The superhero abilities do provide a new way of getting around and can be fun to use during combat. These powers can be challenging to control at the start but once you get a hang of them you can plough through your enemies with ease.
As in Saints Row: The Third, powers can be upgraded in the menu. Quests are also available here as well as the map, phone and all other upgrades.

The driving mechanics are also the same although used much less in the game due to the new abilities.

Gameplay

As Saints Row IV is focusing more on the fun, absurd aspects of the series, gameplay has changed along with it. You are no longer performing missions on the streets for gangs but instead entering virtual simulations and trying to bring down the virtual world around you. However the elements from previous games are still there such as getting the gang together and taking out rival gangs.

Missions mostly involve killing people or taking on tasks to do something related to the virtual environment. A lot less time is spent getting to the mission points as flying is so much quicker than driving there.

Entertainment

I’ve mentioned that the game is very repetitive from the previous instalment and it is. But Saints Row: The Third was very entertaining. Saints Row IV retains a lot of that entertainment, its just a lot of fun to play. I find myself laughing at things that happen and am always eager to play the next mission.
I found that the story didn’t keep itself together as previous Saints Row games did. Half the game is spent finding your old homies and then suddenly you’re on the final mission. Getting your gang together has always been a thing to do in Saints Row but usually that’s only at the beginning of the story.

Fighting enemies remains entertaining with all sorts of new ways to kill people. The superhero abilities and crazy weapons are always a blast to use. Everyone has their favourite weapon, be it the dubstep gun or dildo bat. Saints Row has always delivered on funny and powerful weapons.

What did sometimes retract from the entertainment was how buggy the game was. I was surprised to have fallen through the world a couple of times, to be stuck in a river on three occasions, or to have my character lock himself in position (during the final boss battle too). I think this is due to the fact that Steelport wasn’t intended to have flying citizens.

Replayability

As with any Saints Row game there are a number of side missions, collectibles and things to unlock or buy. Saints Row IV is no exception and there are thousands of things to collect. Clusters are used to upgrade your superhero abilities and there are over a thousand of them. Its very easy to get distracted and go on a spree of collecting them, strangely it doesn’t get boring though.

The game has a lot to offer once you’ve completed the main storyline but things can get repetitive as most side-missions are the same. The multiplayer is just the normal campaign and doesn’t bring much else to the game other than having someone else to play the game with (which is how you should be playing the game).

Summary

So is Saints Row IV the game for you? If you’ve played any other Saints Row game and what you liked about it was its crazy side, then Saints Row IV will satisfy that. If you didn’t like the direction Saints Row: The Third went in, then don’t but Saints Row IV, it only gets more absurd. I’m not sure where you can go from here, how would a Saints Row V work and would it be fresh? As a comparison to Grand Theft Auto V, it makes Saints Row IV look rushed and cheap, GTA is on a whole new level. Saints Row IV is a game if you’re looking for something fun to play.

Birdemic 2: The Resurrection Review

By | Gameora | No Comments

If you’re the type of person who enjoys bad movies (and I mean really bad) movies then you might have heard of the gem known as Birdemic: Shock and Terror. If you haven’t, Birdemic is a “movie” with some of the worst acting, writing and digital effects possible directed by the “talented” James Nguyen. It’s so bad that it becomes amazingly hilarious. It fits in the category of cult movies along with others such as Troll 2, The Room and Plan 9 from Outer Space.

This trailer for Birdemic 2 pretty much shows all it’s awfulness apart from the plot. Not that it matters anyway because there is no plot.

This is essentially a review of Birdemic and Birdemic 2 because I’ll start off in saying that they are basically the same movie. The same events and scenarios occur in the same order in both films. It’s literally like they took the script for Birdemic and just changed the locations and threw in a few new characters.

Birdemic 2 somehow gets worse though. It’s funny in the same way Birdemic was but the novelty has worn off a little. The small improvements to Birdemic 2 are cancelled out due to the fact we’ve already seen this film. So if you’ve not seen either movie I’d recommend you to watch Birdemic for a laugh and skip the sequel unless you’re dedicated.

So what makes it so bad?

The “Acting”

The cast seem to be aliens, unable to talk normally or act how humans should act. I’m not exaggerating when I say the average person could do a better job. To be fair, some of the actors are worse than others. There is the odd person who’ll give a decent attempt at delivering their lines, others seem unaware they’re in a movie and a certain few seem to have no clue how to form a sentence. In particular, Alan Bagh who I am certain is a robot.

The “Plot”

The plot is the same as Birdemic: Shock and Terror. We meet some characters doing random things then boom, kamikaze birds. The group of characters then go from place to place not really looking for anything or working towards a goal, they just go places. Characters and events are also replicated for no apparent reason, its like the director literally has no clue how to think of new things. For example, in Birdemic some guy on a bridge talks about global warming, then in Birdemic 2, that same man who is still on a bridge talks about dinosaurs or something (I wasn’t really listening both times).

Summary

So in conclusion, Birdemic is a must watch if you like bad movies, really bad ones. Its a lot of fun to watch with friends and just laugh at how bad it is. Birdemic 2 is the same thing, I’d only really watch that after seeing the first one. Birdemic 2 is kind of a parody of the first one, I’m certain that the film crew know how bad it is and just carry on for the laughs. Knowing that did retract a little from the movie, it didn’t have the same feel as Birdemic. Either way, both movies are awful.

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone Review

By | Gameora | No Comments

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone stars Steve Carell as a traditional magician Burt Wonderstone whose performance is being rivalled by a popular street magician. The movie also stars Steve Buscemi as Burt Wonderstone’s assistant and Jim Carrey as street musician Steve Gray.

Steve Carell’s performance as Burt Wonderstone is not his best but he does make the character funny and likeable, the same can be said about Steve Buscemi. When I first saw Jim Carrey as the extreme Steve Gray I thought “oh this will be good” and while he was funny in the role, I wasn’t laughing out loud like I would usually get from Jim Carrey.

Although the film was entertaining on the whole with the odd funny scene, it sadly didn’t amount to anything great. I kept expecting these really funny moments to turn up but the comedy isn’t as clever as we should normally see from this cast. Alan Arkin plays an old retired magician who teaches Burt Wonderstone the ultimate magic trick as well as change his ways as a person, pretty cliché.

 A lot of the plot was predictable which retracted a lot from the entertainment but it did have heart. The ultimate magic trick was cool though, I was unsure what they would do but magic has that great way of surprising you. I was impressed by a lot of the tricks in the movie and was glad to hear that most of them were actually shot with practical special effects rather than digital effects.

In conclusion, I enjoyed the film but it wasn’t anything special. I was a little disappointed as I know the cast can do better if the story wasn’t so predictable. I still had the odd laugh but that was all it amounted to.

Identity Thief Review

By | Gameora | No Comments

Identity Thief is directed by Seth Gordon, the same guy who made Horrible Bosses. The plot: Jason Bateman plays Sandy Patterson, whose identity is easily stolen by a woman over the phone on the other side of the country. The police know he is the victim of identity fraud but refuse to help him, instead Sandy goes to find the woman himself and bring her in for justice.

As the title suggests the movie deals with the crime of identity theft. The culprit: Melissa McCarthy, manages to steal Sandy’s identity simply by asking for his personal details, no questions asked. While this is probably how most cases of identity theft do occur, I couldn’t help think that Sandy was, well, a little bit stupid.

So with that, the real Sandy embarks across America to find who’s been spending all of his money. He finds the fraud easily but has to drive back home with her, that’s where all the crazy shenanigans occur, mostly cringe moments. The characters become friendly during the trip and Sandy proves he’ll do almost anything to get his identity back including…(spoiler)… stealing someone else’s identity.

The movie is filled with cheap laughs and gags, the movie is mildly entertaining but is overall disappointing. It tries too hard to be funny but often it’s not. While Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy are good actors if their put in the right roles, this type of comedy doesn’t really do them any good. The redeeming moments come from the actors themselves with their own humorous acting.

I wouldn’t really recommend Identity Thief unless you like this type of comedy or just want something on in the background. While I did have the odd laugh, there were just too many cringe-worthy moments which weren’t really funny in the end.