So... how is everyone?
I'm currently fine. My parents are a little stressed, but coping. New Zealand's currently going into a hardline lockdown over this pandemic
, with large events being cancelled left and right, and anyone coming here having to go into mandatory self-isolation for 14 days, except for people coming from the Pacific Islands. A recession is pretty much inevitable.
And we're already dealing with the worst drought in a century to boot. This is a major double-whammy.
So I recently watched the first two seasons of the recent Castlevania anime, and I have to say I was pretty disappointed with it.
I was expecting it to more or less follow the plot of Dracula's Curse
, with Trevor setting out on his epic journey to the castle, meeting and teaming up with his new allies along the way to eventually confront Dracula and put a (temporary) end to his reign of terror.
I was not
expecting nearly the entire first season to center almost exclusively around how much Warren Ellis hates Christianity, which, even if that's your thing, has nothing whatsoever to do with the plot of any Castlevania game, ever. The second season was nearly as bad, with the majority of it getting wrapped up in vampire politics, Carmilla manipulating everyone, and ultimately making the main character of Curse of Darkness
her personal bitch. Meanwhile, Dracula just sat and stared at his fireplace in a state of complete apathy, and Trevor, Sypha and Alucard literally spent half the season sitting in a library, with the show barely remembering to come back and check on them for a couple minutes per episode, before going back to the Transylvanian equivalent of some stupid reality show.
Having said that, the (one) episode where the heroes finally
stormed the castle and fought Dracula was flat out incredible. But that only served to underscore what the show should
have been doing, all along.
My bottom line: the animation was decent, and the voice cast was terrific. But as it is, I think most of the series has been a huge missed opportunity, spending far too much time on boring side characters who weren't even in the games, and not nearly enough
time on the ones who were. If they'd followed the games more closely (which Ellis is on record as not having bothered to play or research any of them), the series could have been a lot better.
Insert bad pun about hindsight here.
Also, now Blade Runner
is no longer in the future.
Must be midlife that's leading me back to past things. Been a while since I've been here. Hello to all.
Well, it's that time of year again. And while none of you will be surprised to learn that I spent the past hour or two hunting for some very specific topical images, apparently Goji doesn't do Christmas so here we are.
I have spoken.
Whakaari (White Island) should be a goddamn case study on learning where to draw the line on casual visitors approaching an active volcano. The sad news is that a few days ago, the volcano erupted while tourists were visiting the island. So far we have 16 confirmed fatalities and many more suffering horrific burns. Some of them have virtually no skin left anywhere
A few weeks before, GNS
issued a bulletin putting the volcanic alert level at 2, indicating significant volcanic unrest. This is also 1 step away from alert level 3: a localised eruption. Despite that, tour operators chose to head to the island anyway. I suppose they rationalised that eruptions can happen at any alert level - which is true - and felt that the risk was worth it. All visitors to the island have to wear hard hats and gas masks, which in normal circumstances
would have been enough to ensure their safety. After all, White Island is constantly active and churning out steam and poison gas, and that activity lulled us all into a false sense of security. We thought the volcano to be predictable.
I've tried putting up a bird's eye view of White Island, but I've had no luck. Google Images has plenty of them, so if you want a visual aid, go there. I was going to try to visually demonstrate why any visitors would be absolutely fucked
if there was an eruption - which there just was. And why it may be time for these tourist visits to STOP.
Here's the gist: White Island is a stratovolcano that is about 70% underwater, with only the tip-top of the mountain above water, and the crater is only 30m above sea level. Part of the crater wall is collapsed, allowing easy access by jetty to the crater itself. But that means there's only one way in, one way out. You're hemmed in by high crater walls on all sides except the part open to the sea, the air is thick with toxic gas, there's no man-made shelters and the main crater is only 700m away. In an eruption - if you're on the island, you have nowhere to go.
Whakaari often erupts with bursts of hot ash, steam and gas that certainly rises upwards, but just as often travels across the land via the path of least resistance. That is to say, it follows the same route to the sea as the tourists. And anyone caught in that shit gets steam broiled.
You've probably already heard about this, but it demands a forum thread for posterity because...well, I'll just let it speak for itself.
So Rolling Stone published an interview with Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy
the other day, and the opening paragraph must be read to be believed.
Interviewer Brian Hiatt asked Kennedy, "Jurassic World
director Colin Trevorrow was slated to write and direct Episode IX
before you brought J.J. Abrams back in. Is this final entry in the trilogy a particularly hard nut to crack?" Her answer:
Every one of these movies is a particularly hard nut to crack. There’s no source material. We don’t have comic books. We don’t have 800-page novels. We don’t have anything other than passionate storytellers who get together and talk about what the next iteration might be.
So. Yeah. Compared to, say, comic book movies, Star Wars movies are harder to write because there's no existing source material to draw on. She really, honestly said that.
And to be fair, I'm sure she's right. I mean, it's not like there was 20+ years of published material by highly accomplished, distinguished authors and creators that they decided to arbitrarily broom in its entirety
when they took over the company, or anything like that. It's gotta be tough.
Okay, let's cut the bullshit now. This woman is a complete embarrassment and a disgrace. She's an ideologically-driven hack
, which might be excusable were she not also a staggeringly incompetent airhead who has no idea what she's doing, and as supporting evidence for that
I direct you to the production of every Star Wars movie after Rogue One
. The development of Solo
was such a legendary train wreck that it's nothing short of a miracle that anything remotely viewable came out on the other side (and for the record, I don't think it was a terrible movie). Both in that case and now with The Rise of Skywalker
, they hired unqualified directors only to fire and replace them well into production for one reason or another. The developers of Game of Thrones
just walked away from a planned trilogy Lucasfilm wanted them to make -- not just one
movie, but an entire trilogy
of movies. And you'll notice I haven't even mentioned that other movie
, though on that note, Rian Johnson's public statements about his own long-planned trilogy have grown increasingly vague, evasive and self-contradictory of late. Disney's Bob Iger has also announced
that theatrical Star Wars movies would be going on "hiatus" after the release of TRoS, for an undetermined period.
So yeah, go read the entire interview
for yourself. 'Cause if you think I just cherrypicked the worst of it...you'll quickly find out, I didn't
If you had to rate every game you've ever played on a scale from 1 to 10, how many would you actually rate a full 10 out of 10? And which ones would they be?
Mind you, this does not
mean the games in question have to be without any flaws whatsoever. Only that their strengths, in your view, so outweighed their weaknesses that they might as well have been flawless, or that you felt truly raised the bar for their entire genre. Games that you can play for hours, days, weeks or even months on end, and never grow tired of or lose your appreciation for.
Anyway, here are mine.
- Batman: Arkham City (Xbox 360, Xbox One)
- Bioshock (Xbox 360, Xbox One)
- Borderlands 2 (Xbox 360, Xbox One)
- Castle of Illusion (Genesis)
- Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (Playstation, Xbox 360)
- Chrono Trigger (Super NES, DS)
- Final Fantasy IV (Super NES, Playstation, Game Boy Advance, DS)
- Gears of War 2 (Xbox 360)
- Gears of War 3 (Xbox 360)
- Gunstar Heroes (Genesis, Xbox 360)
- Halo 3 (Xbox 360, Xbox One)
- Halo: Reach (Xbox 360)
- The Legend of Zelda III: A Link to the Past (Super NES)
- Mass Effect 2 (Xbox 360)
- Metal Gear Solid (Playstation)
- Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence (Playstation 2)
- Metroid 3: Super Metroid (Super NES)
- Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium (Genesis, Playstation 2, Xbox 360)
- Resident Evil 4 (GameCube, Playstation 2, Xbox 360)
- Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory (Xbox)
- Starcraft II (PC)
- Super Street Fighter II (arcade, Super NES, Playstation 2)
- Street Fighter Alpha 3 (Playstation, Playstation 2)
- The Walking Dead (Xbox 360, Xbox One)
We've all heard about the Saudi oil fields being hit by drones and the Trump administration is blaming Iran. The Saudis are also blaming Iran. I'm more inclined to believe it was the Houthis in Yemen, though, seeing as Saudi Arabia has been invading their country and committing genocide against their nation for several years now. A strike on Saudi oil facilities is logical, as it would slow their war effort and hit their bottom line.
I don't see Iran benefitting from a brazen attack like this, which would invite an attack from the US, which has been practically begging
for an excuse to invade since Trump took power. Make no mistake, I don't like the regime in Tehran. AT ALL. But if the US decides to invade Iran on false pretenses, we'll be looking at the biggest conflict since WWII, and millions will
die. You can expect Israel and Saudi Arabia to join you as they're equally eager to see Iran destroyed, but don't count on anyone else. The sentiment I've picked up indicates the rest of the world is fed up with America right now.
I hope it doesn't come to war. But the way things are going, war seems inevitable.
So as I'm sure you've all noticed by now, I'm a recently-revived Godzilla fanboy. I've loved the character since as far back as I can remember; indeed, in my early childhood, my two favorite things in the world were Star Wars and Godzilla. It's something I've returned to in recent years, first out of sheer nostalgia, then in anticipation of the most recent movies, and finally, in the hope of sharing this particular joy with a younger generation.
But as there have been more than 30 movies over the past 65 years, the history and film continuity of the world's favorite nuclear-powered dinosaur has naturally become pretty complicated, if not downright convoluted. Luckily for anyone reading this, I've taken the burden of research upon myself (you're welcome
), and what better way to sort it all out than with a forum post?
...I mean...I guess I could also make a spreadsheet, but I have this forum so I might as well use it!GODZILLAFrom left: Gojira (1954), Showa Godzilla (1955-1975), Heisei Godzilla (1984-1991), Heisei Godzilla (1991-1994), Zilla (1998), Millennium Godzilla (1999-2004), Legendary Godzilla (2014), Shin Godzilla (2016), Animated Godzilla (2017-2018), Legendary Godzilla (2019)
Artwork by ULTRA-TAF, who has generously granted me permission to use their work. ありがとう!
The most basic thing to understand is that Toho Co., Ltd.
's first 28 kaiju
(monster) movies are divided into several distinct eras, which are referred to as the Showa
period (1954-1975), the Heisei
period (1984-1995), the Millennium
period (1999-2004), and now, the Reiwa
period (2016-). Each period is more or less a single and separate continuity, but they all claim the original 1954 Gojira
as their starting point. In addition, the 1998 Roland Emmerich film, Polygon's recent anime trilogy, and Legendary Pictures' current and ongoing "MonsterVerse" franchise are each a separate and self-contained continuity.
It's also worth noting that Toho was running with the concept of all their films sharing a single continuity over half a century before the introduction of the Marvel Cinematic Universe
.Gojira and the Showa Period: 1954-1975
The Showa era, and Godzilla's story, began in 1954 with Ishiro Honda's grim and somber original movie, which is by far the darkest and most serious film in the entire franchise. But as the character of Godzilla became more and more popular, particularly with children, the tone of the movies quickly became much more light-hearted and whimsical. Thus, what began as a bleak commentary on nuclear proliferation turned into an excuse for men in rubber dinosaur costumes to beat the crap out of each other and destroy miniature cities, because...well, let's be honest with ourselves: why wouldn't
you do that?
These are the movies I remember from my early childhood, and with the exception of the very first film, nearly all of them, particularly from 1962 forward, were aimed at a young audience. And make no mistake...I may be a Goji
fan, but some of these movies are laughably awful, with All Monsters Attack
, and Megalon
being the most cringe-inducing, in my opinion. And while the rest are still campy as hell, most of them are at least entertaining, often in their own tongue-in-cheek way.Showa Series:
Heisei Period: 1984-1995
- Gojira, AKA Godzilla, King of the Monsters (1954)
- Godzilla Raids Again (1955)
- Rodan (1957)
- Mothra (1961)
- King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962)
- Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964)
- Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (1964)
- Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965)
- Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster, AKA Ebirah, Horror of the Deep (1966)
- Son of Godzilla (1967)
- Destroy All Monsters (1968)
- All Monsters Attack (1969)
- Godzilla vs. Hedorah (1971)
- Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972)
- Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973)
- Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974)
- Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975)
After a nine year hiatus, the Heisei era began with 1984's Return of Godzilla
, also known as Godzilla 1985
. This series is much more serious and has a much tighter continuity than the Showa films, with recurring characters throughout and the plot of each movie picking up directly from where the previous one left off. To say nothing of having much higher production values across the board than the Showa films, thanks to advances in technology and special effects. That's not to say that there aren't still moments of extreme cheese (the American cyborg from the future in King Ghidorah...)
, especially looking back on them from 2019. Still, I think the Heisei series is arguably the best of Toho's live-action kaiju movies.Heisei Series:
TriStar's Godzilla: 1998
- The Return of Godzilla, AKA Godzilla 1985 (1984)
- Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989)
- Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991)
- Godzilla vs. Mothra (1992)
- Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II (1993)
- Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla (1994)
- Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (1995)
In 1998, following his success with Independence Day
, director Roland Emmerich and TriStar Pictures attempted to launch a Hollywood franchise with a heavily redesigned, CGI version of Godzilla. And, well...they failed. Very, very badly. In fact, the movie was such a ridiculous farce that Toho employees reportedly walked out of screenings. Although it was ultimately a financial success worldwide, the box office numbers and critical reception were far below TriStar's expectations, and plans for future sequels were abandoned. Interestingly, however, Toho still owns the likeness of this version of Godzilla, and has, in fact, subsequently used it in other movies and media. But they refer to it, rather derisively, as simply "Zilla". The implication of that is exactly what it looks like.TriStar Godzilla:Millennium Period: 1999-2004
If it accomplished nothing else, the TriStar debacle spurred Toho to end their post-Heisei hiatus and begin the Millennium series, if for no other reason than to restore the Big G's dignity. The Millennium era is somewhat odd as it really is not a series in terms of plot or continuity, but rather is largely a group of standalone and unconnected movies. The exceptions to this being Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla
and Tokyo S.O.S.
, which are directly linked to each other, but the rest...not so much. There isn't really a consistent tone or theme to them, either, other than having much better special effects than their predecessors. Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah
particularly sticks out in this respect, and from all
of Toho's other movies for that matter, as it drastically rewrites the origins, histories and fundamental nature of all three characters. The two Mechagodzilla movies, on the other hand, heavily reference a number of Showa-period movies, but in terms of their overall tone, they feel more like they'd fit in with the Heisei era. Lastly, Final Wars
, which was released almost exactly 50 years after the original Gojira
and was the last "rubber suit" Godzilla movie Toho would ever make, is as gleefully and unapologetically campy as any of the Showa films, only with a much bigger budget.Millennium Series:
Legendary Godzilla (AKA "MonsterVerse"): 2014-Present
- Godzilla 2000: Millennium (1999)
- Godzilla vs. Megaguirus (2000)
- Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001)
- Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla (2002)
- Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. (2003)
- Godzilla: Final Wars (2004)
In 2014, 10 years after Toho's last movie and just in time for the 60th anniversary of the original 1954 film, Legendary Pictures and Monsters
director Gareth Edwards made another attempt at bringing Godzilla to Hollywood...and this time
, they got it right. Like the '98 TriStar version, this Godzilla is rendered entirely in CGI, but his overall design was deliberately kept much closer to Toho's original, iconic rubber-suit creation. More importantly, unlike TriStar, Legendary Pictures has treated Godzilla with a level of awe and respect that borders on reverence, as the character truly deserves. The success of the films have allowed them to craft an ongoing shared continuity (nicknamed the "MonsterVerse") for these and future movies, in the vein of the MCU...or, for that matter, in the model of the original Toho movies, before them. As you're probably aware, I've been a huge fan of these movies thus far, in spite of their questionable inclusion of a certain giant ape. And while I've had a lot of difficulty determining exactly what their reception has been like among Japanese audiences, I do know that Toho themselves are extremely
happy with Legendary's take on Godzilla.Legendary Godzilla:
Reiwa Period: 2016-Present
- Godzilla (2014)
- Kong: Skull Island (2017)
- Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)
- Godzilla vs. Kong (2020)
I wasn't aware of this until recently, but apparently we've now entered the Reiwa
era, by Japanese reckoning. However, it really isn't accurate to call this a "series" because all of the recent movies have their own continuities which are completely separate from the others. So, that's how I'm going to list them, at least for now. This may change when Toho starts churning out kaiju
movies again, as they're planning to do starting in 2021.Shin Godzilla: 2016
Inspired by Legendary Godzilla's 2014 debut, in 2016 Toho released a new movie of their own, their first since Final Wars
, 12 years earlier. Originally called Godzilla: Resurgence
, the international title was ultimately shortened to Shin Godzilla
(literally, "New Godzilla"), a somewhat baffling decision since it has no meaning in English. Of much greater significance than the movie's title, however, was the fact that it was written and directed by Hideaki Anno...that's right, the same Hideaki Anno who created, wrote and directed Evangelion
. (And boy, does it show, which can make for a pretty surreal viewing experience if you're a big enough EVA fan.) Even though it's a complete top-to-bottom reboot in every way, it's probably closer in tone and feel to the original Gojira
than any other subsequent Godzilla movie, but updated for the Digital Age. The design of Godzilla himself was quite an extreme departure from all other previous iterations, however, as he actively mutated through three different bizarre and increasingly horrific CG-rendered forms over the course of the film. For the record, this was actually a really
good movie. It met with near-universal acclaim among Japanese audiences and critics, received no fewer than ten nominations in the Japanese Academy Awards, and actually won both Picture of the Year and Director of the Year for 2016, which was a first for the entire franchise. However, Anno's "Shin-Goji" design proved to be a bit too
radical, and Toho has stated that they have no further plans for this particular version of him.Shin GodzillaGodzilla Anime: 2017-2018
Next, Toho and Polygon Pictures released three feature-length, animated theatrical movies over the following two years. Set in a distant future timeline, the story followed a desperate population of human refugees who return to a devastated Earth which has been ruled by Godzilla for 20,000 years. Although another extreme departure from the series' past, in many ways, this proved to be an outstanding trilogy of films in their own right, and were frankly much more compelling and memorable than I had expected them to be. I must also confess to having originally been somewhat wary of these movies due to Godzilla's design, which makes him look very plant-like, but this is actually not the case; he's simply covered in 20,000 years' worth of overgrowth and vegetation.Godzilla Anime:
- Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters (2017)
- Godzilla: City on the Edge of Battle (2018)
- Godzilla: The Planet Eater (2018)
Comicbook.com has reported
that Ewan McGregor has signed a contract to reprise his role as Obi-Wan Kenobi in an upcoming live-action series for Disney+.
Ewan McGregor Confirmed to Return as Obi-Wan Kenobi for Disney+ Series
By Jenna Anderson - August 15, 2019 08:26 pm EDT
The Star Wars franchise hasn't seen the last of Obi-Wan Kenobi. On Thursday, Deadline confirmed that Ewan McGregor is set to reprise his role in a currently-untitled series for the Disney+ streaming service. The Hollywood Reporter's Borys Kit reports that the series could span six or eight episodes. Fans had already begun to speculate that McGregor would be returning to the franchise, after a report from Cinelinx claimed he had signed a contract to do so.
This comes after years of rumors and speculation have hinted at Lucasfilm further exploring Obi-Wan's story in some form or fashion. An Obi-Wan movie was believed to be put into development in May of 2018, with Stephen Daldry being brought on to potentially direct. Months later, McGregor himself squashed that reporting, hinting that there were "no plans" for it to happen at that time.
“I would totally do it, of course,” the actor shared in a television appearance in August of 2018. “There’s no plans as such to do it, as far as I know... There must be a good story to tell as they’re doing spin-offs – there’s likely to be a good Obi-Wan between me and Alec Guinness."
This new Obi-Wan series would be the third Star Wars project to be officially made for Disney+, which is set to launch on November 12th. The franchise's first live-action television series, The Mandalorian, will be premiere with Disney+'s launch. The Mandalorian is showrun by Jon Favreau, with a cast that includes Pedro Pascal, Gina Carano, and Carl Weathers. A second series, which would be a prequel for Rogue One's Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) and K-2SO (Alan Tudyk), is also in the works. Stephen Schiff will serve as that series' showrunner.
While some have clamored for a film spinoff of Obi-Wan's adventures, it sounds like a Disney+ series could explore that part of the Star Wars canon in a new way.
"Almost every movie the studio makes is a $100 million-plus movie, and we're not looking to make movies at that level for the service," Disney CEO Bob Iger said this past January. "We're looking to invest significantly in television series on a per-episode business, and we're looking to make movies that are higher-budget, but nothing like that."
"We wouldn't make a Star Wars movie for this platform," Iger continued. "When everybody goes out on the weekend and you have a movie that opens up to $200 million, there's a buzz that creates that enhances value. We like that. And eventually, the movies we're making are going to [end up on] the service."
This is something that's been on my personal wish list for years
, and is (at least potentially) the best Star Wars news I've heard in "a long time...a long time."
So, I'm at least three years late to this particular party. My younger brother suggested some time ago that I start watching it, and now I wish I'd started sooner. My mom would have loved it.
For the one or two of you who might not be familiar with the series, here's my setup pitch. Stranger Things
The series opens in October of 1983, in the small rural town of Hawkins, Indiana. A town where generations have grown up in close proximity, and everybody knows everybody else.
In this town live four young boys whose shared interests have both united them with each other, and made them social outcasts. Completely unrepentant nerds, they call themselves "the party". They love Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and horror movies, and spend most of their spare time in the basement of one boy's house, playing D&D.
That particular boy has an older sister who is dating the most popular guy in school. Another of the boys has an older brother who is a friendless, introspective loner. Their struggling single mother is played by Winona Ryder.
The town's chief of police is a haunted man who drinks and uses drugs to cope with a devastating personal loss.
There is also a young girl who has been raised in a top secret government laboratory on the outskirts of town, where she has been trained from birth to develop her potent psychokinetic abilities as a secret weapon for a Cold War in which knowledge and insight are the most valuable assets. She has no name, only a number.
An experiment at this same facility has accidentally opened a door to a parallel dimension inhabited by Lovecraftian, parasitic horrors, and it is about to unleash hell upon the world.
That's basically where the first episode starts.
What I say next will sound rather elitist, though it's not intended to be, it's a simple statement of fact. But in order to fully appreciate this show, your formative years really need to have been in the early '80s. There are countless small details and references that are aimed directly at this very specific demographic, because we're the only ones who would have any reason to notice them.
It's funny. I was telling my brother recently that when I was a kid, I remember being perpetually annoyed by the way everyone was always going on about the '60s. But now, I find that '80s nostalgia has a surprisingly strong and very specific appeal for me.
I'm late again.
In my defense, I was dog-sitting my aunt's new puppy during the big fireworks show. She actually did great!
Edit: I'd intended to include this topical link
to compensate for my own lack of rambling verbosity, but I forgot to. So...better two days late than never, I guess?
Es Es El
by The Phiend
June 18, 2019
In the interests of keeping up with the times, our site is now running over HTTPS instead of HTTP. So passwords are secure in transit, etc.
Now, this might
mean that you'll need to log in again, if you've been using the "Log me on automatically each visit" feature. But I just double-checked and our forgotten password feature is working correctly, so that shouldn't be a severe issue.
I'm sure everyone is aware by now, but just for posterity, here's the trailer that was revealed at E3. iframe
It does look pretty cool...but there's one aspect of this I can't help but laugh at.
This game started out as an early tech demo...for the PS3.