Monday, 5 December 2011

The Thing - A short review

John Carpenter's 'The Thing' was released in 1982 and is one of my favourite films of all time, so I was really looking forward to watching the new one released a few days ago. I was worried it was going to be a remake but was relieved to see it was a prequel!

The 1980's 'The Thing' was about an American camp in Antarctica that starts with Norwegians from another camp chasing and trying to kill a husky dog, reaching them. We are lead to believe its just a normal dog, but when the Americans go to investigate the Norwegian camp it becomes clear somethings not right. At first they assume its cabin fever but discover a destroyed camp and burnt and twisted bodies everywhere. The Americans return to their camp with a body to do an autopsy on and their medics find its not human. At his point all hell breaks loose. 'The Thing' starts spreading and infecting, first the husky dogs, then the people and its a fight for survival. The film ends with 2 Americans surviving uninfected, they have managed to kill 'The Thing', but have destroyed their camp in the process and are now alone in Antarctica with no shelter and no idea if rescue is coming.

The 1980s The Thing
'The Thing' released this year is a prequel that shows us what happened at the Norwegian camp. The Norwegian team picks up on a distress beacon and while looking for the source crashes through the ice to discover an alien ship. They gather a specialist team to excavate an alien creature that has been frozen in the ice and take it back to camp. Shortly after 'The Thing' starts thawing and breaks out of the ice, the Norwegians hunt and kill 'The Thing' but it has already killed and infected people. They do an autopsy on the creature to find a partially replicated/absorbed team member. They learn at this point 'The Thing' imitates people but can't replicate inorganic mater such as fillings or implants. After finding some fillings and blood in the shower they realise someone among them is infected. 'The Thing' attacks and members of the Norwegian camp start dieing off and becoming infected. The result is the camp gets destroyed with charred bodies everywhere. Two survivors chase 'The Thing' back to its ship where they kill it and destroy part of the ship. The film ends with 2 survivors chasing the dog in a helicopter, which is where the 1980s 'The Thing' kicks off.

Alien ship
I've always wanted to know what happened in the Norwegian camp so I really enjoyed the film. It was great to see the environments from the 1980s film recreated so you can see what they used to be like and what happened to destroy them. All the bodies that were found in the 1980s are explained in the new film and you can see what really happened there. I liked the creature design and the fact you got to see alot more of 'The Thing' and its ship in this film. 'The Thing' has a fantastic well thought out creature design and seems very similar to the creature design in 'Dead Space' a game which I really enjoy.

Alien in ice block

The film hasn't got the best reviews as people seem to think it was a unnecessary addition that doesn't live up to the first. I personally thought it was a really good film and well worth a watch. The CG can be a little poor in places but it doesn't really affect the film and I thought it was awesome being able to find out what happened at the Norwegian camp.

The thing on fire!

8 out of 10!

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Why is everything going 3D?

I hate the way everything is going 3D at the moment and I can't understand why its becoming so popular.
Its been around in the past but been a novelty at best but in recent years has taken hold of our entertainment. TVs are 3D, handheld consoles, PC monitors and games, console games, sky and the majority of new films.

I can understand its an interesting new concept and an accomplishment we've been able to come up with the technology to make 3D viewing possible at home. But why is it even necessary. Whats wrong with normal TV and normal films. I don't think 3D really adds anything to the experience apart from a headache. I can't understand why people would pay loads of money to replace their TVs with 3D capable ones just for that extra feature. Not to mention forking out for those stupid glasses that you then have to wear constantly just to get the 3D effect. Why do we constantly feel the need to improve something that doesn't need improving.

We've made alot of advancements in viewing technology in recent years, like the shift to HD and then full HD, but 3D viewing is not something I would of thought as worthwhile. I can see the value in increasing the viewing experience by improving the quality and clarity of the image through HD but what does 3D actually add? I don't think it even fully works. But this what we have always done and will continue to do. Advance, innovate and improve. Hopefully we'll pass through 3D pretty quickly and be onto the next big thing! God knows what that will be. Full virtual reality maybe!

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Reviewing the reviews

Games reviews, previews and information is everywhere so its hard not to come across. Games are becoming more popular which there are more people finding ways to make money from them like journalism. I don't go out of my way to read people's opinions online because there are just too many people doing it these days. I don't know them, where they are from or the games they like, so how can I put their opinions into context. I do buy and read some gaming magazines however. I still don't know the people writing for the magazines but I'd hope they were at least more informed and experienced.

I think one of the main problems with writing about games is everyone has different views and different motives. I don't know if the magazines or people online are being truthful, purposefully positive/negative or have other preferences which change the way they view something. That's true for everyone anywhere and if that stopped things being written nothing would ever get published, online or off. We could hope people in stronger positions would be more likely to be honest and fair, but we just don't know.

I've been a reader of PC Gamer for many years and enjoy the magazine. I don't really take issue with the things that are written but they don't really influence the way I buy games anyway. I like to read reviews etc because I like to read about games and I like to have a difference of opinion to others. I like to discuss and argue points about games, I think it adds to the enjoyment of them. I also like buying magazines because I like to see all the new previews of games, these tend to be the biggest games from the biggest companies, some could call this unfair but what do you expect? No one is going to dedicate the majority of a magazine to games no one has really heard of and leave out the bigger titles. it wouldn't sell.

I don't buy magazines or watch online reviews because I really want to know what the game is going to be like for me. Only me playing the game myself is going to tell me if I like it or not. I just need to see enough of the game to get an idea of if I think I'll like it, but thats still just an idea. I've bought games and then found out they sucked, everyone does it and its not necessarily on purpose. Sometimes we just don't enjoy games like we thought we would, but other people might of loved it. Reviews and similar texts are always just going to be people's opinions on what they thought of games. They might be completely different to your own views.

I think its good practise for people to right about games and what they think about them, some people might be lying but theres nothing we can do about that. if enough is shown/written about games we should all be able to develop an impression of the game and if we'll like it ourselves. How can anyone expect new games journalism or anything to ever be any different. Everything is always going to have a biased opinion in it one way or another because no one is completely neutral for different reasons. What matters is what we each take away from the reviews and how much we want to believe.