Monday, 5 October 2015

Fire and Ice: The Dragon Chronicles

Where wearing nothing is probably better than wearing armor.

A fire dragon (literally on fire) is terrorizing the peaceful kingdom ruled by a good king (Arnold Vosloo). Fortunately his free spirited and strong willed tomboy daughter (Amy Acker) is around to try help save the day. This is a good example of how decent actors can really help a subpar script. Apart from perhaps one or two deviations you probably have already guessed how this will play out and you would be right. This film also has average quality sets and average CGI but they certainly aren't shy or hesitant to use it. John Rhys Davies is also very watchable and it has simple but workable tunes musically.

Unfortunately there are many weaker actors around too and an almost total fail in the costume department. I'm not sure if it's intentional but the "armor" worn here is the most worthless that I've seen for awhile with guys in chain mail getting one hit punched or kicked to the point where guardsmen are seriously useless. The director also likes horses as a good portion of the film involves them, as well as camera shots that rotate around one subject. This is ok once or twice but some people seriously might get dizzy. Having no combat choreographer is also telling and makes "fights" just a mess of camera cuts to watch. The main culprit here though is the script. Trying a new lore for dragons is good but it has to at least make -some- sense. Also the heroes plan gets to the point of face palming stupidity too, which again doesn't help it in the slightest.

They're supposed to be looking at the same thing...

Alas Fire and Ice, I give you only one and a half useless pieces of armor out of five. I don't want to watch it again nor can I recommend it to anyone save for the most die hard fans of the names above.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Sunset Six: Questioning Others

[Part of my Sunset Six story.]

Continuing with the Thought tests, the highest level one is called the Riddle of the Sphinx, which isn't asked by the Sphinx at all. The Sphinx just asks riddles made by other players! To pass the test though, not only do you need to answer riddles but you must make some of your own which are worthy enough to become "Noble" rank. To pass the evaluation stage your questions simply need to get rated "good" by others who see both the riddle and the answer.

I have a Question.

Once it progresses to a "Common" riddle, then people have to answer it "for reals" and this is where it will become a Noble rank or not. Within the first 21 responses the riddle must have 7 correct AND 7 incorrect answers to ascend. If that doesn't happen the riddle is marked as "fallen" and is out of the game. Now's a good time to mention that once a player has answered or evaluated a riddle it won't come up for him again so no cheating for balance. :P

That sounds pretty tough, but I think Pulse of the People is harder. A player creates a game station and posts some questions which people answer - just like a survey. When the survey is done, the true game begins and anyone who has not yet used that station can try answer the same questions. Points are awarded for the answers which were most popular during the survey phase.

Family Feud - Egypt Edition!

Obviously I've not been around long enough to be good at this game. :(

Saturday, 3 October 2015


Where "communicate with aliens" actually means lure them here so we can massacre those f*ckers.

Scientists have found another Earth like planet far, far away and (possibly because they are morons) decide to try communicate with it. The aliens respond with an invasion. Thanks moronic scientists! Fortunately for us, the aliens have really, really slow ships that move like frogs which means the first third of the movie is spent making the main hero look like a douche bag asshole and does the job brilliantly. So well in fact, that you hope he dies slowly and miserably when the aliens do come, which involves some very nice CGI. It also turns into a somewhat decent action flick that tries to pay homage to both the navy and the battleship board game with an extended Liam Neeson cameo.

Given the ratio of water to land on this planet, that's not hard to imagine.

Unfortunately the aliens are stupid. They clearly have flaws in their technology which lets the modern standard of warships be on equal footing. For some reason they also can't decide if they want to kill people or not. That's a pretty big problem I would think? All the stuff with the scientists and ground based story line could have been compressed to just the army guy, and that whole opening part should have been removed because even after the movie is done - the hero is still a douche bag. All up I give this film two chicken burritos out of five, and don't have any desire to see it again.

Friday, 2 October 2015

Sunset Six: The Discipline of Thought

[Part of my Sunset Six story.]

Unlike Architecture, the Discipline of Thought lets you pass the principles of all its tests by simply solving a variety of player made puzzles. To actually pass the tests requires you to build them yourself though AND to have people solve them and rate it as good, which as I mentioned before is a tough balance between not being too easy or too difficult.

Two of the simplest ones for me are the Test of the Pathmaker, which is basically a connect the dots puzzle with a few added rules of blue dots must have a straight line and red dots must be corners with straight lines directly after on each end, and the Test of the Constellation which involves covering up green stars on a "night sky" table.

Easy versions of Pathmaker and Constellation.

Test of the Hexaglyphs can be a fair bit harder. In it, you must arrange a blackboard of hexagons so that the symbols on all sides match the symbols on the glyphs next to them. While the white bordered glyphs are fixed in position, all the others can be dragged around and rotated as you like.

A very challenging Hexaglyph board.

The Test of Venery is the most fun for me, as it is basically like a player-made "treasure hunt". It could be simple and quick or extremely tricky (one I've seen is all maths with the very first clue asking for prime number coordinates >.<) or far reaching - going all across Egypt! I think I'd really enjoy making one of these. :)

Venery sample from Top's Treasure!

Thursday, 1 October 2015

The Maze Runner

I can only imagine where one would get the funding to build the titular Maze.

A colony of men all suffering amnesia of their lives before, now live in the center of a giant, ever changing maze that also happens to be the home of some monsters. Having no information given to the audience at the beginning makes this whole thing interesting as the questions of "How?" and "Why?" are slowly answered in this pretty action packed and exciting film. The visuals, music and majority of the acting are all good though some bits are a bit too dark, lighting wise (possibly intentionally), to see what's going on (Or maybe my eyes are getting bad lol).

What sort of douche builds a giant maze anyway?

Normally this is where I put all the negatives, but apart from the ending lending itself to being a but of a "Huh?" reaction, it's a pretty solid film and one I definitely can recommend. Just be aware that it lends itself heavily to having a part two at some point. I give the Maze Runner three and a half names on the wall out of five and would definitely watch it again. Don't really want to say more than that to let you experience it for yourselves.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Sunset Six: Obscene Amounts

[Part of my Sunset Six story.]

Thought I'd give a run down on the remaining Architect Tests which require an obscene amount of high grade materials and/or assistance which means the chances of me getting them done are pretty slim. The highest level test is called the Test of Seven Phoenix which is not only pricey to build, you must get OTHERS to build it for you! Worst of all, you won't know -where- or -which- of the seven phoenixes (all with different build requirements) you need to construct until the hour to build them. Fast traveling during this hour negates all your efforts.

In the Test of the Megalopolis you are required to build a huge structure which is actually composed of 49 construction sites which you are supposed to allocate other people to. Once begun you have one week to complete -all- of it. It's only thanks to Balthazarr that I managed to pass this!

Management skills to the max.

The Throne of Pharaoh is a new test that came out a few weeks after I joined the game. It's actually composed of two parts: first build a plinth (which in this case is a bloody huge fortress) followed by building the chair to go on top of it. Up to seven people then need to decorate the chair and each of them get a different build requirement when signing up. They then have three hours to finish and apply their part or they fail.

Pharaoh must have a big butt.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Gone Girl

Believe the TV. The TV is your god.

A woman goes missing and her husband soon becomes the prime suspect despite his adamant stance of innocence. This thriller is pretty good at keeping your attention with the interesting mystery, puzzle piece flashbacks, and is backed by good performances by all parties involved. It also shows how easy it is for media to manipulate the sheepish masses and possibly holds the most number of times Rosamund Pike says the F-word in a film. There's a fair bit of sex, nudity and a bit of blood too.


Unfortunately it's only towards the end when you realize just how stupid, spineless and flacid all the characters are with their choices, making almost all of them unlikable. Don't expect an ending with closure either. It's a pity since just a little alteration would have made it fantastic in my book.

Currently the option of "the cat kills them all" is better than what is actually there for me. Also I can't help taking a parting shot at yet another pointless opening credit sequence that could have easily been done in the opening scenes with Ben Affleck at the start. All up I give this film three out of five.

Would I watch it again? Nope. If you want a more spoilerific review have a look over at Pixel Thoughts take on it. :)