Life, off! Pi….

Life of Pi was released on the 21st of November, 2012. So I’m doing very well with current news! I watched Life of Pi for the first time a few weeks back at the beginning of March, and had heard all the hype about it when the Oscars came around. Saw the Oscars and was very thankful it didn’t win best film. I managed to create a reputation for myself for extremely disliking this film before I had even seen it. I was saying that people were only being amazed by it because of its stupidly good visual effects, when really the film wasn’t that great at all. I didn’t want to watch the film, but when it came on (not in 3D, just good old fashioned 2D for me) I felt I had to go and see it just so that I could justify my reasons for hating it so much.

I liked seeing Rafe Spall in an Australian accent though, that was thoroughly amusing every time he came on screen. It also had not too long a runtime, 120 minutes of film, (with another 7 minutes of credits) and I didn’t feel too much like it was dragging on. I wasn’t that bored, it was an alright film. Some films go on for way too long and just have no need to be that long, but this was fine, it managed to get a fairly long runtime in and not be bad.

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At the Oscars it took four awards, Directing, Cinematography, Score and Visual Effects. Visual Effects I’m not as surprised it won than the others. It was pretty spectacular. The animation and visual effects on the Tiger definitely a highlight of the film, every hair seemed to have been animated separately, but as a part of a whole, the detail was all there. At least they didn’t have to work with a real Tiger, but then again, acting with nothing, where there should be a Tiger, must have been a challenge.

The visual effects being such a major part of the film however, I still feel it overwhelmed audiences too much and got in the way of the story itself. If in some way you could have the same story, but without using all the special effects I don’t think it would have been considered for Best Picture, and so I disagree with it having that nomination.

Other parts of the film annoyed me though, and I know you can have artistic licensing, but there comes a point where it becomes just bending reality just too much. Or as the film industry put it, “We couldn’t make it the difficult way, so we cheated and made it easy.” When Pi is shown the voracious nature of Tigers, and the goat is left for the Tiger to kill and eat, the Tiger manages to somehow pull the Goat through the bars of its enclosure which you can clearly see a goat won’t fit through in one piece. The camera cuts away, so you don’t see the act, then cuts back and the goat is through the bars and in the Tigers mouth, that definitely broke the realism.

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In the sinking ship scene, when Pi was in the water filled compartment opening a hatch into an air filled compartment (you could tell because of the air bubbles rushing past him) the differential pressure would have been impossible to overcome. Unless of course the hatch opened into the air filled room, but it doesn’t, you clearly see Pi having to pull the hatch open (I think I remember this correctly, tried to find a video of the scene, but can’t, correct me if I’m wrong though).

Another minor point, call me pedantic but hey, only a handful of people will even have read this! As I was saying, another minor point, at one point you see the ocean completely flat and calm. I can tell you, the likelihood of this happening, is so unbelievably minute, it would probably quite literally never happen in a million million years. A lake, maybe. An ocean? Never. Although some people would probably argue that it’s just a metaphor for something, but instead for me, it just took me out of the film, and broke the realism again.

Overall, and the amount of times I start a conclusion with the word ‘Overall’ is too annoying, the film is alright. Definitely in the top 50% of films I’ve seen this last year, but it wasn’t amazing. Again, I’ll say the visual effects were great, but detracted from the story for me and just made it feel not as authentic. And visual effects will always do that, the more real things you use in a film the better it will be, and I hope I will always believe that. I don’t want to give it a score out of 10, so instead here’s a number 9, god knows what that’s out of though.

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Playstation 4 late showing….

It feels as though the moment has passed now, almost like when you think of a good come back against someone about 30 seconds after they’ve just done you.  But I’m going to post about it anyway. What on Earth were Sony doing when they did that whole Playstation 4 thing!? Oh no wait, sorry, oh my God! The Playstation 4 looks like totes amazeballs like, the share button, like oh my god, I cannot believe it. I’m going to upload like a million videos to YouTube of me and my mates, like I’m going to be so famous.

God, all they’ve done is shown the controller for the console and already it has gotten me completely pissed off. What the hell do they think they are doing!? Can’t they see that this is just going to have and Inverse Midas effect? i.e.: Everything turning to shit. So begins the social media way of the consoles. I pray that Microsoft see some sense and avoid it with the Xbox 720.

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The prototype, personally, I prefer it

So basically Sony were showing off the new Playstation 4, and they didn’t even show the console! What? Is it too good for our eyes? Or is it so ugly you don’t want to show it at all, not until we get it into our homes in an unmarked white box, open it up and find an ugly mass of black plastic and chrome. As if a child has thrown some black play-doh at the floor and a Sony designer has seen it and thought it was a work of art. I digress… They may not have shown the console because they didn’t see it as important, focusing more on the game play and graphics thinking that will impress us, well, yeah I’m impressed. But you missed your point. Unless they just want to drag it out to increase interest, I wouldn’t be at all surprised.

The controller that they showed us had the usual, wireless, dual shock, x 0 triangle square; up down left right, all the buttons. But wait, there’s new buttons and different things. There’s a small touch screen area right in the middle. And to accommodate this display the controller has taken on a…well sort of rectangular shape. It looks a bit odd, I’m sure we will all get used to it, but I don’t think I will ever get used to the other addition they’ve made. Before that though, why on earth have they added this touch screen? If it ain’t broke don’t fix it I say. But then again, multinationals like to say “if it ain’t broke, break it.”

SONY COMPUTER ENTERTAINMENT INC. PLAYSTATION 4

The share button will allow players to instantly share their game play online with their friends. How this will work I don’t really know, but it will probably be rubbish. The last thing we need online is a whole load of amateurs with instant and easy access to posting videos online. But hopefully the way of the world will beat them back down, as no one watches these rubbish wanabe online celebs, and the people who actually put proper effort into creating videos will not be detremented too much.

The last thing that has been added that I can remember, seems to be a flashing LED light at the back of the controller, something to do with the console knowing where the controller is, and also they thought they need to break it some more, I mean come on, they clearly thought “we can make this shitter, hmmm, make it more natural to hold? No. How about a light on the back? Perfect!” Yes, I know, it’s shit.

The real controller

The real controller

I always thought that with the next generation of consoles they would focus more on game play instead of graphics. Although 8GB RAM is pretty cool. I just hope it doesn’t just look good, it needs to play good, without that you’ve got nothing. So there’s a lot riding on this. I look forward seeing videos of game play appearing on YouTube.

Masterful Masters Snooker Overview…

This year watching The Masters I really enjoyed it, was the first time i had properly watched Snooker again in a long, long while. The last 16, or rather the first 16 it should be called as there are only 16 people in the tournament, right through to the final was all quite gripping. Disappointing not to see Ronnie O’Sullivan in this years Masters though, hopefully he will make an appearance at the World Championships to defend his title.

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Mark Allen I believe played an amazing game, in his quarter-final match against Neil Robertson he was pipped to the winning post by a lucky pot, which yeah was intended but by Robertson’s own admission it was a one in 30 chance of potting it. The final frame decider put Allen out of a tournament he definitely had a chance to win, at least he managed to win the high break prize of £8,000, now that’s not bad.

Many people believe that Neil Robertson was very unsporting in his first round match against Ding where he shouted out “You Beautay!” after potting a tricky red. This outburst of emotion is simply that, it’s not unsporting, different players act in different ways, you can be offended but you can’t make it so that you’re no longer offended, the world would not work.

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There has been of course a spattering of exciting little things, Judd Trumps spiky shoes, Balls flying of the tables, many, many fluke shots, and of course if you were watching Mark Allen’s first round match his rest problems. Mark Selby laughing along with the crowd at jokes he couldn’t even hear was great, just goes to show how great the sport can be. And on the other side of the coin the frustrating moments, Stephen Maguire conceding in the middle of a frame, clearly very angry at his play. And John Higgins getting just as frustrated and leaving the snooker table as soon as he could after he got knocked out by an on form Shaun Murphy.

Another disappointment though for people was seeing Judd Trump leave the tournament earlier than expected after only the quarter finals, losing 6-1 to Graeme Dott who was playing his own game brilliantly it has to be said. Look forward to seeing Judd appearing at the World Championship there though.

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The grand final though, was set up to be exciting with Robertson and Selby both being previous winners of the coveted Masters trophy, and both being world number 1’s at some point in their career, in fact Mark Selby is currently the number 1 ranked snooker player in the world. He stormed ahead 5-3 after the afternoons session. He carried the momentum on through to the evening session and managed to beat Robertson 10 frames to 6. Even though it looked to be close on the cards, it was more of a one-sided affair, Selby was ahead the whole time and Robertson was struggling to make big breaks.

Anyway, bring on the World Championship…

The Dark Knight Rises (aka…”where’s Batman?”)

I don’t understand why some people aren’t a fan of The Dark Knight Rises. In my eyes it is a great film in it’s own right. It really nicely links in with everything in the first film Batman Begins. In a way the trilogy is almost like a sonata of music. The first part sets everything up, it is the exposition. The second part is the development section where things are shook up and bit, and the third part is the (music language time) recapitulation, where it all goes back to what was outlined in the first part and adds it’s own twist. This almost exactly relates straight across to the Dark Knight trilogy. A work of art in a way, although i wouldn’t say that normally. Without that first film the ending just doesn’t work as well, it completely sets it all up and when you’ve seen all 3 films together i think you would agree with the order of greatness they are in.

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Bane is a great villain, but a lot of people had a problem with the fact that his voice could not be heard properly in the rough mix or whatever it was the sent out to trial audiences. So they reshuffled it to make it slightly more understandable and for me it works. But some people still can’t understand what he’s saying, maybe you just need to be listening properly, but i understood every word. Bane’s inflections at the end of sentences are odd and work well, you’re not expecting a bad guy to talk so calmly, but i think those inflections add something sinister to his voice. And after all, it is his voice that does most of the selling, as you can’t see his face that much.

The film is set eight years after The Dark Knight and shows Bruce Wayne in not so good shape as he was before. What with that walking stick thing and that goatee making him feel old. So it’s only right that we shouldn’t see Batman for a while, and when i was watching it at no point did I go “hang on, i’m here to watch a Batman film, where’s Batman?” Don’t worry he will come along, it’s all part of the story. That’s what this is more about, less action, more story. And it works brilliantly.

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I did have a problem with the Batcopter flying tank thing. It just seemed to me a cheap way to bring in the crowd and to allow Batman to get out of the trickiest of situations, and i think shows a little non-imagination from the writers. Also I thought there were a few unrealistic parts, like when ***SPOILER ALERT*** Bruce Wayne tries to jump out of the hole with the rope attached to him, he falls, how on earth does he not do his back in again, if not get mortally wounded, when the rope pulls taught to save him, he’s just, supposedly, recovered from a broken back for Christs sake! And how does he get back to Gotham from the hole? Does he use his Batcard (from the George Clooney Batman film) to pay for a flight, whats going on? ***END OF SPOILER ALERT***

This film links in so well with the first one that i think you can only really appreciate it when you watch all three back to back. And once you do i think you will agree that the order should go something like this:

  1. The Dark Knight Rises: because the story works brilliantly, and its place in the trilogy fits so well, i think i’ve made that clear already.
  2. Batman Begins: Simply becasue it is a great film once you understand whats going on, it took me a few watches to fully understand everything, but it does such a good job of setting up the trilogy that it has to go here.
  3. Finally The Dark Knight: now this is only in last because the others are better than it, it still is great don’t get me wrong. If only the Joker could have been involved in the final film maybe this film would have worked nicely in terms of the trilogy, instead it just seems to be an odd one out. It’s great on its own, but as a whole, not so good.

Let me know what you think, and i’ll leave you with a great voice dub by this guy on youtube if you haven’t yet seen it. COMBO-BREAKAR!!!